Review of Martin Stephenson - 30th March 2005 © Steve Perkins, York
How many days of your life do you spend in the presence of genius…?
In this battery farm world of music with its conveyor belt of style over substance there is little to stir the soul - little which roves free untainted by commercial pressures. Very few have the insight or the freedom to see the bigger picture – to
reveal the absurdities and complexities of the human condition… hell, and to ask for the England score in the middle of it all. One of those rare figures lit up the room at the New Roscoe last night.
It was twenty years ago when I first saw Martin Stephenson with the Daintees at Leeds Uni. I remember Martin declaring that a young lad in the audience was
Eddie Cochran and breaking off from a song, gave the lad his guitar to complete the picture. A hokey cokey around the hall ensued, with the new Eddie Cochran leading, much to the delight of the audience. People I’d seen on telly didn’t do that sort of thing. But then there has never been anything typical about Martin Stephenson. When commercial successes beckoned, he walked away – disinterested in being caged and force fed his art. For behind the bonhomie, the banter, the brilliant wit – there is a serious soul, somebody who is desperate to connect – because he knows, ultimately that’s all we’ve got – the opportunity to bring a little joy.
Joy was on the face of everybody as they left the New Roscoe after a stunning gig. Toe tapping to the guitar one minute, choked by the beauty of his songs the next and creased with laughter at his stories and one liners inbetween. I had arrived at the New Roscoe in a good mood – I left having had one of those very rare days when you know you’ve been in the company of somebody special, no, more than mere special.
…thank you to the New Roscoe
… and thank you Martin for another one of those days…