“Thank you sweet faces in the dark,” says a trembling voice on the dimly lit stage at the London Palladium. It is the sorrowful voice of the musician, poet and illustrator Keaton Henson whose presence in this pre-war building has an electrifying effect. There is something terribly intimate in Henson's spirit as we all attempt to catch the glimpse of his face that is affectionately illuminated by a single spotlight. Henson is nervous yet that adds a certain layer of thrill to his galvanizing show that has an emotionally draining effect on his audience. Bon Iver might have sold millions of records with his anxiety-ridden lyrics yet Henson's tormenting melancholia and sincerity is something escalates track after track.

In Henson's world, the lyricless classical elements find themselves in a crossroad with his poetry. His intricate sorrow runs deep between the silences yet at Palladium, his life work is presented as a wondrously beautiful display of notes and lyrical elegance that bares resemblance to Nabokov and Wilde-esque charm. This is complemented by the five-piece string orchestra accompanying him on the stage. In front of our eyes, Henson became an ancient storyteller with a string choir bringing his lyrics alive. Playing old favourites such as 'Sweetheart What Have You Done to Us' and 'You Don't Know How Lucky You Are' alongside pieces from his 2014 album Romantic Works as well as tracks from his 2016 release Kindly Now, in the Palladium Henson created a window to the past six years of his life.

While Henson's work drips of melancholia, his live presence is regardless of the nervousness full of wit and bone dry sarcasm. Accompanied on the stage by the leader of the string orchestra Ren Ford, the latter became the object of Henson's affectionate banter that functioned almost as an ode to their kindled friendship. Ford's quiet presence has a calming effect as he leads his orchestra with serenity towards the end of the show.

"I played in Amsterdam last week and I swore I wouldn't play this song for a long time," Henson says to the sold out venue that is filled with overwhelming silence and anticipation as he returns to the stage for a final encore that is Leonard Cohen's remarkable 'Hallelujah'. "Fuck this is hard," he says as he wishes his idol all the best and peacefulness in his final resting place. In the Palladium, Cohen's spirit is present within Henson's delicate cover.

While Henson is a man of many words, it is difficult to say anything about him that isn't lazy. I could talk about his melancholia, his sincerity and intricate lyricism with long and powerful words yet it all becomes obsolete in comparison to the simple poetry he creates. Much like Cohen, Henson is an observer. Like a journalist, he watches the world around him in detail and translates that into his lyrics. He writes for himself and others like him, the ones who were never asking for a spotlight shone upon them. Gently, kindly now, Henson writes all of our life stories. He writes the diary we never wrote. At the Palladium, his shy, gentle stage presence and the poetic performance proved that he is one one of the most truthful wordsmiths of our time.