Martyn Joseph - The Works, Sowerby Bridge - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Martyn Joseph - The Works, Sowerby Bridge

by Dan Clay Rating: Release Date:

It can't be easy following the vocal dexterity of four Yorkshiremen singing sea shanties, yet somehow Martyn Joseph manages to upstage the locals with another passionate and polished performance, even if they're quick to correct his pronunciation of their hometown, much to his amusement.

Keen to try out new material 'on the road' before heading to the studio means Joseph treats the audience to several new songs, of which the rollicking 'Now is Not a Good Time for God' and certain-to-be-popular 'Still a Lot of Love' stand out.

Squeezed into a venue barely bigger than your average school classroom, it's no surprise the latter is delivered without the PA, as Joseph climbs the spare row of front seats (something he makes reference to during the first song) and encourages a little sing-along from the crowd, complete with an impressive Dylan impression too.

However, it's not their own voices the audience have come to hear; instead, they lap up the melancholic tones of 'Cardiff Bay' and the pulsing acoustic rhythm of 'Lonely Like America' instead. There's an activist, angsty, folk-rocker in Joseph and it comes to the fore on several tracks, most noticeably on a more stripped-back version of 'Please Sir', but it's just as evident on the sublimely haunting 'Turn Me Tender', for which a softly plucked electric guitar serves as the perfect accompaniment.

While huge arena shows seem to be the order of the day for lazy pop fodder, Joseph shows perfectly that an intimate and personal performance is what any music fan really craves, and when it's this good, you'd be Gaga not to see it.

Images courtesy of Rofanator (Jon Pinder)

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