The latest act to grace the stage of the Edge of Wedge in Southsea is flourishing singer/songwriter Ben Marwood. Originating from Reading, he has been on tour at venues across the country whilst also juggling a day job – although to hear him play, it’s clear to see where his passion truly lies.
Having taken inspiration from Eliot Smith and Death Cab For Cutie, he released an album earlier this year titled Outside There’s A Curse. Accompanying him on tour were fellow songwriters Kyle D of Dawn Chorus and The Retrospective Soundtrack Players, MynameisIan, and returning from Brighton University for the night just for us, The Boy I Used To Be.
First up was The Boy I Used To Be with just his acoustic guitar to accompany him on stage; with his shy demeanour and his eyes always averted from the audience, he comes across as incredibly nervous, but with his soulful Damien Rice style voice he certainly doesn’t need to be.
Next came MynameisIan, a Cardiff based acoustic act whose songs sound distinctly like they should be on a match.com advert. The song writing lacks any real skill or depth but is sweet and witty none the less, much like a male Kate Nash.
The last of Ben Marwood’s special guests was Kyle D. Evans who gave the gig a little variety with his more upbeat folksy songs accompanied by a trumpet, keyboard and a tambourine. With a voice more powerful than the other two acts, he raised the energy levels and got the crowd buzzing.
After a long wait came the much anticipated Ben Marwood. Also of the folk/acoustic genre, the loud gruffness to his voice, and the power and passion behind his guitar playing, ensure that his work could never be hidden away as background music. It calls your attention in a way that is impossible to ignore. To close your eyes, you’d think that you were listening to a Mumford and Sons demo tape, although lyrically he is more comparable to Ed Sheeran through the way his songs tell a story.
Ben got the crowd going with ‘I Tried To Write A Sing-a-long’ and it was astounding exactly how much noise one room could make given the Edge of Wedge’s small capacity. Despite what appeared to be a few technical difficulties with the microphone, he soldiered on with confidence, combining pretty upbeat melodies with some more sombre tracks. From the way he moved seamlessly between playing and audience interaction (despite a few hecklers in the audience), one can genuinely believe that he was born to do this.
Ben Marwood has been described by some as being up with Dave Grohl as the nicest man in rock, and I would be inclined to agree. On the subject of the Portsmouth venue, he enthused: “everyone has been so friendly and welcoming, I’m so happy to be here.” We can only hope then that we will see a lot more of him in Portsmouth. With his raw talent and refreshing songwriting skills, I don’t doubt that we will.