But we do like to tell you about those visiting acts who are somehow distinct from the endless parade of fuzzed-out indie groups and nostalgic ’80s reunions. We like to tell you when someone unique and perhaps less well known but no less great for it comes to our parts.
Richard Dawson is like that. He’s an English singer-songwriter who has been trumpeted critics at The Wire, The Guardian, Quietus and Pitchfork, amongst others. Dawson may not be top 40, but it is revered in certain circles.
The Guardian described him as “extraordinary… a strange, discordant reconfiguration of English folk traditions.”
The Wire magazine’s description is perhaps more vivid: “Accompanying himself on a battered acoustic guitar, with his fingerpicking amplified to a rusty and jagged carillon, his vocals swing from a splintering tree trunk roar – often delivered without a microphone – to a finely worked falsetto.”
Richard Dawson spent years incubating his singular art, becoming a quiet legend on the Newcastle experimental scene before exploding across the UK and Europe with the delicately observed personal lilt of his breakthrough 2012 album, The Magic Bridge. Invitations then followed to perform at many festivals, and he was lauded by the crucial magazines and media. Subsequent albums The Glass Bridge (2013) and Nothing Important (2014) have fulfilled and extended the promise of his earlier work, meeting unanimous critical acclaim.
Richard Dawson appears at the Whammy Bar, Auckland on Thursday 8 October; Meow, Wellington on Friday 9 October; Chicks Hotel, Dunedin on Wednesday 14 October, and The Wunderbar, Christchurch on Friday 16 October.
And of course, the wonderful thing about supporting “underground” artists, apart from communing in an intimate space and seeing them at their best, is the ticket prices: pre-sales a mere $20 (from Under The Radar), and on the night (if they’re still available) $25.