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Author Topic: Review - Steeleye Span: White Rock Theatre, Hastings.  (Read 7908 times)
Barry
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« on: May 05, 2006, 08:50:52 PM »

I must admit that I approached this concert with some trepidation.  I had heard mixed reports of this tour.  Cambridge apparently was a good gig but elsewhere ….. reports of “going through the motions” and “lack of passion”.  Even my own dear wife who saw the band the night before in Tunbridge Wells felt that they did not seem to be enjoying themselves. 

I had seen this malaise before and it had resulted in my not bothering to see the band for many years.  I was prepared for the worst.

What I got was one of the tightest, rockiest sets that Steeleye has produced in this incarnation.  From the blistering opening of “The Bonny Black Hare” the band performed with a mounting intensity and enjoyment, although there was obviously a little tension too.  For this tour primarily is about working up and bedding in material for the new album – and putting that new material in front of an audience. 

And there was a lot of new material – both traditional and self penned.  Despite this, there was no disappointment in the lack of the familiar, but excitement and pleasure in hearing the new, for it all carried the Steeleye trademarks and sound.  I noticed Liam Genockey taking backing vocals; I have not seen that before (possibly and oversight on my behalf) but those five part harmonies were the tightest that they have been since the reunion.  Maddy’s vocals on “Lord Gregory” were nothing short of mesmeric, “Bonny Black Hare” and “Demon In The Well” rocked with the best of them.  Ken Nicol – a shamefully overlooked and under-rated talent – continues his fascination with historic figures, this time concentrating on Lambert Simnel, pretender to the throne of Henry VII in “The Scullion King” whilst Rick Kemp has turned his attention to the Luddites.  All this intertwined with the swooping and soaring fiddle work of Peter Knight.

There were some staples of Steeleye history, too – Long Lankin is still with the band, as is Tam Lin.  There were some trips down memory lane with “Cold Haily Windy Night” and the welcome return of “Saucy Sailor” to the fold.  “Cam Ye O’er Frae France” and “All Around My Hat” were the encores.

Steeleye Span is alive and well, although admittedly getting older (Rick Kemp collects his pension in November) and maybe a little sedate on stage.  However, the intensity and passion is as strong as ever, the band is obviously enjoying itself after its 15 month break, and, above all, the integrity of the music remains intact.  As I wound my way home through the dark lanes of East Sussex and Kent I heaved a sigh of pleasure in the knowledge that I’d be rushing to buy the new album …. probably on the winter tour.
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2006, 09:11:43 PM »

As always, an excellent review from a trusted source.  Barry tells it straight and he's not easily pleased.  Neither is his good lady!  Grin

Thanks Barry.  Kiss

Peel

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Sian
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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2006, 10:02:06 AM »



A great review, it makes me want to go get tickets ASAP.  As the last steeleye gig I went to I was unmoved and disappointed.

Thanks Barry.


Sian
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Barry
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« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2006, 10:17:22 AM »

Thanks, Sian  Embarrassed

I'd be careful, though, as this is obviously a tour of variable quality and I can only report on the show that I saw.
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« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2006, 11:50:47 AM »

Hopefully they will be on form for Winchester. Anybody going on the Saturday?

Paul
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« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2006, 07:18:24 PM »

If I had a Winchester based babysitter I'd be very tempted, as my friend lives there, and Tunbridge Wells was disapointing!
It looks like the Friday in Winchester is sold out, but the Saturday still has tickets available.

Sarah
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« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2006, 07:25:16 PM »

If I had a Winchester based babysitter I'd be very tempted, as my friend lives there, and Tunbridge Wells was disappointing!
It looks like the Friday in Winchester is sold out, but the Saturday still has tickets available.

Sarah

Yes, we had originally tried to book for Friday, but it was sold out, and we were put on a waiting list. Some time later they phoned me back to say that they had persuaded the band to play another night.

Really looking forward to this, so I hope they are on form, I have seen them in several different incarnations, and not been disappointed yet.

Paul
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« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2006, 11:42:28 PM »

I've never seen them live, but the setlist has me very intriqued. I love a cold haily windy night and a suacy sailor. Bonny black hare?  Wow a  lot of good material. Maybe they will make it over here. Maddy has  such a great voice. Thanks for a great review.
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« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2006, 04:30:43 PM »

An excellent concert last night. Rick Kemp was on top form, an excellent bass player, he varied from thumping bass, to melodic harmony lines, in particular in the intro to long Lankin. He also managed to make it sound almost like a cello to compliment Peter Knight's fiddle work. He was also on form with his between songs patter, with a very dry sense of humour. I think during cold haily windy night, both Ken Nicol and Rick Kemp forgot what band they were playing for, and were actually opening for Iron Maiden. Maddy's voice was as haunting as ever, she really knows how to put feeling into a song. In the first half it was a little rough on the top notes, but this had cleared by the second. She actually gets no break in the interval, as she came out into the foyer to sell raffle tickets for cancer research. She somehow even managed to fit in a costume change. Pete Knight's violin playing was spot on, and he added piano on a couple of numbers as well. Particularly effective in the first encore. A rock and roll version of Hard times of Old England. The other two encore numbers were Come ye o'r from France (very lecherously sung by Maddy) and all around my Hat, for which they wore silly hats. There was a lot of good humour in the band, and on several occasions Ken Nicol reduced Maddy to giggles. Liam Genocky is a very versatile drummer. I'm not sure about the vocals. True he was signing along, but he was nowhere near a mike. The nearest was the overhead mike for the crash cymbals.

The new songs were good, and showed some of the virtuosity of the band. Ken Nicol strapped on a Dobro for the ghost in the well, and cracked several jokes about it be cut out of a Hillman Imp. Great guitar, but overheats on the long slow numbers.

To sum up. Typical Steeleye, from gentle ballads to the rocky numbers that they do so well. A thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Paul
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