Martin Stephenson

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Martin Stephenson

Martin Stephenson

Posted: 07 May 2014

Martin Stephenson and The Daintees

Sage Gateshead

3 May 2014




It’s always a joy to see modern-day troubadour Martin Stephenson in concert, and even more so on his home turf in the North East with the latest incarnation of his decades-old band The Daintees.

The blend of great songs, impressive musicianship, tall tales and banter with the audience is a potent mix and one that has served the folk tradition well down the centuries.

But you can’t really classify Stephenson solely as a folkie any more than you can label him a rock musician, country singer or bluesman, although all the above apply.

What you can say is that he’s a consummate performer. That explains why I’ve seen him probably around 20 times in different venues in London as well as the North East – and I can confirm his style travels very well indeed.

For this gig at the Sage – ably supported by Newcastle band El Cid  and Helen McCookerybook – he was on top form, and the band featuring John Steel on guitar, Kate Stephenson on drums, Finn McArdle on percussion and fellow North Easterner Chris Mordey on bass was more than up to the task.

  I loved the understated way they all went about their business: class musicians without a point to prove just enjoying themselves in the intimate surroundings of the Sage’s Hall Two.

In front of a sell-out crowd of Stephenson aficionados it was something of a family affair – and all the better for it.

With 40 albums to his name Stephenson has a lot of material to choose from, but based this gig on the Daintees’ 1988 album Gladsome, Humour and Blue with tracks including There Comes A Time, Slaughterman and Get, Get Gone.

All were executed with great professionalism and a hearty dose of fun and laughter: qualities that very seldom go together in the music world, but when they do nothing more is required of you than to sit back and enjoy.

A finale featuring Wholly Humble Heart, Running Water and – in true vaudevillian style – the band performing Salutation Road as a processional around the concert hall was the unexpected icing on an already highly satisfying cake.

Stephenson continues on tour with several gigs in the North East so there are more chances to sample his fare (see list of dates below). Believe me – whether you’re a seasoned fan or an absolute beginner, you won’t be disappointed.


Anne Graham


Upcoming North East gigs:

31 May: Georgian Theatre, Stockton

1 June: The Angel Inn, Corbridge

15 June: The Ship, Low Newton, near Alnwick

20 July: SummerTyne Festival, Gateshead

5 September: The Maltings Theatre, Berwick

12 Sep: Old Cinema Launderette, Durham

3 October: Allen Valley Festival, Hexham

22 December: Cluny 2, Newcastle

23 December: Cluny 2, Newcastle

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