Posted: 07 May 2014
Martin Stephenson and The Daintees
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
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
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
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.
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
front of a sell-out crowd of Stephenson aficionados it was something of a
family affair – and all the better for it.
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.
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.
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.
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