Venue: Dingwalls, Camden Support Bands: Ruu Campbell & Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou Date: 23/11/10 Though not normally the kind of artist I’d go for, Dylan LeBlanc’s monumental debut Pauper’s Field that came out on Rough Trade earlier this year stunned me, along with many others. His voice on that album is phenomenal, and his lyrics show someone world weary and tired, like all the greats, only LeBlanc is 20 years old. This album, which isn’t far off Harvest by Neil Young by my reckoning, was written by someone that wasn’t born when ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ was released just puts this into context. After having already selling out the 100 club, the next level for LeBlanc in London was to be Dingwalls. I’ve seen bands in Dingwalls before, and while it was great for Foals, I couldn’t really see it working in any sort of acoustic band’s favour. It’s tiered, all standing, and quite echo-y in quieter songs, I’ve found. And, true enough, when the first support act took the stage (Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou), the first thing to notice was how dwarfed they looked stood on stage with two acoustics. Moss and Lou performed the sort of folk that romanticises cups of tea and mashed potatoes and I’m sure they had a song about allotments. Call me impatient, call me whatever – I don’t buy that creed of folk. I find it insufferably boring and offensively inoffensive. That being said, both of the pair played well and put a lot of passion into it, and some of the crowd really reacted well to it. As I said before, they weren’t helped in the slightest by how daunting and inhospitable Dingwalls appears to be to the acoustic crowd, but it really wasn’t my cup of tea (badoom tsh). Second support act Ruu Campbell was marginally better insofar as he was inoffensive in a different way. He played, as my friend put it, “all the filler bits from Radiohead songs”. It was, simply put, the definition of ‘Nothing Special’. And finally, Dylan LeBlanc took to the stage. His voice, it was immediately apparent, was hardly treated on the album and it actually is that strong. It really is something to behold; even when you ignore his haunting lyrics, his voice still stands out, still sends that shiver up your spine. It’s simply incredible how this man can have such a voice at only two decades old. While his set was incredible, there were two things that let him down. The first one was the venue – Dingwalls is closer to a club than a proper music venue and really feels like it. The lighting is too bright, everyone is stood up and it’s simply not suited to such a slow act. For example, ’Low’, one of the standout tracks on the album, was ruined by the fact someone next to me was chatting loudly about peanuts. Don’t get me wrong, I love peanuts, but I couldn’t care less about them while trying to listen to a pretty fine piece of pedal steel. The second problem probably shouldn’t have been one – LeBlanc sounded a bit two dimensional at times. His voice would soar and drop, but in all but one song, it sounded flat. There was a point where it really struck through and hit you, but the majority of it came down foul of poor acoustics. I was at the back for a lot of the gig and it just echoed, and while the range and sound of LeBlanc’s voice was great, it sounded thin and simple, almost like listening to an mp3 through crappy headphones when you know you should be hearing it on vinyl through a top end HiFi. Apart from that though, it was a great gig that simply goes further to cementing LeBlanc’s name and voice in the new face of Americana.