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Darren Hayman - Luminaire, London, 12/11/2007

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 23 / 11 / 2007

Darren Hayman - Luminaire, London, 12/11/2007


At a gig to promote his just released second album, Ben Howarth watches ex-Hefner frontman Darren Hayman play an impressive collection of old and new songs at the London Luminaire

Interviewed in this magazine last month, Darren Hayman seemed to have accepted that the popularity and media attention he enjoyed as the songwriter in Hefner had left him for ever. But on the evidence of this concert, he may have judged that prematurely. Buoyed, no doubt, by very positive reviews of his second solo album, 'Darren Hayman and the Secondary Modern' in 'Q' and 'Uncut', he played with the confidence that made his old band so loved by regular listeners to the John Peel radio show. Hayman once wrote that Hefner liked to think of themselves as a ‘folk band’. Backed with a banjo and a violin, his solo music fits that description far better. Most of his new album was aired tonight, and the songs sounded even more impressive in person. Of course, some of the biggest cheers were reserved for Hefner songs - and, although he has been critical of his earliest work, he treated fans to ‘Pull Yourself Together’ and ‘Hello Kitten’, as well as the two best songs the band wrote, ‘Good Fruit’ and ‘The Greedy Ugly People’. But the most impressive songs tended to be new ones. In particular, the rendition of the album’s opening track ‘Art and Design’ made it clear that the qualities that made Hayman so popular have endured. It was a fun gig, with an energetic and enthusiastic - and packed out - crowd. Darren remains a witty host. But, musically, it was a reminder of a talented and unique songwriter, who has been cruelly neglected in recent years.

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Darren Hayman - Luminaire, London, 12/11/2007

Darren Hayman - Luminaire, London, 12/11/2007

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