Darren Hayman, ex Hefner, is headlining the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds playing an acoustic set. He apologises for disappointing us by being one man with a guitar, saying he understands that sinking feeling that the audience get at the sight of that. He needn’t. I think most people here are now well used to the revival of the singer-songwriter. The only sinking feeling is the one of “Oh shit, we won’t be able to hear him over the chatterers.” Thankfully, there aren’t too many of those tonight.

Hayman’s interjections are funny, and despite some blokey shuffling from the guys next to me who I think have come to hear Hefner revisited and not this guy telling stories and singing new material alongside the old, they are enjoyed by the majority. He even manages to get us to do a sing-a-long, commenting on how his teenaged self seeing him do it would think that he was an utter wanker.

The reason his between song monologues are so good is because you know many of them to be true! Of course, I was going to make some oh so witty comment about him looking like a college lecturer, only to find out that he is. He works at a local for him London college on a music project, and one of his songs is about how the best band to come out of it was the one made up of the remnants of the class after all the others had associated by musical preference. They’ve split up now, but this song remains to remind him of how good they were.

So we had a good night. I didn’t really know what to expect as I was never an indie kid into Hefner the first time around, and I was pleasantly surprised.

The photographs that accompany this article were taken by Neil Bailey exclusively for Pennyblackmusic.

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Commenting On: Brudenell, Leeds, 24/6/2011 - Darren Hayman

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