Steve Mason - Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Steve Mason - Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds

by charles filtness Rating: Release Date:
Steve Mason - Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds
Steve Mason - Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds

Steve Mason is one of today's greats for my money.  His solo output has at least matched that of The Beta Band.  It is now more than 20 years since those first seminal E.P.’s were put out by his former band. His most recent album ‘About The Light’ has gained fairly universal acclaim.  It is certainly a consistently solid record from start to finish, I’m just not yet sure if it will prove to be as indispensable as some of his previous efforts.

He arrives on stage wearing a superhero cape over his customary charcoal grey detention style jumpsuit.  The cape lasts for the first song only, once discarded I overhear someone “he looks like a Kwik Fit Fitter now”.  Regardless, it’s a look he rocks well and with supreme confidence; he’s on great form tonight, charismatic, no suggestion of his previous inclination towards seclusion.  He looks well actually, he has the appearance of someone who takes care.  He turns 44 this year but certainly looks more youthful than that, he drinks only water throughout the show, nothing more. 

The set is 17 songs of which 10 are taken from the new album and nothing from any of his previous incarnations or former bands.  Tonight is the first sell out show of the tour, there is much appreciation for the Leeds crowd and plenty of talk between songs.  But as with the new album, the set sometimes feels a little bit softer than I was hoping for or remember from previous live shows.  The edges seem to have been rounded, there isn’t much evidence of any discontent, spit, indignation with the world, no fist punching moments like before.  Maybe he’s mellowed a little, he talks of not being the same person who wrote ‘Boys Outside’.  He’s apparently found love and is now a father so perhaps this is showing in the music. 

That said it’s a great gig, his 4 piece band are fantastic, Barrie Cadogan of ‘Little Barrie’ fame plays lead guitar, it’s also the prominence of the keyboard playing that elevates many of the songs.  ‘Stars Around My Heart’, ‘Rocket’ and ‘Walking Away From Love’ are standouts from the new record and are great to hear live.  But older songs like ‘Oh My Lord’ just feel a bit more, and the final song of the encore ‘Words In My Head’ is nothing short of electrifying.  It just confirms what he is capable of if he chooses.

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