Martin Stephenson And The Daintees @ The Cluny, Newcastle, 22/12/10


“No, You can’t get a boat to Bolivia”

Well technically you can. You get a boat across Lake Titicaca from Peru and land in Bolivia. Now that the pedanticness (is that a word???) is over. You also can’t get a taxi in the snow from The Cluny back to Dudley. Unless you phone the firm in Dudley and they come and get you. You book it for 11:30. Now as Martin is on at 9 he’ll be well finished by 11:30!!! No, we left and he was still going strong!! Brilliant gig, brilliant showman, excellent band, too many pints of Stowpress Cider and hopefully not too many missed songs at the end. The set was made up mostly of songs from his first 2 LPs with the Daintees; Boat to Bolivia and Gladsome, Humour & Blue. With a few extras thrown in for good measure; Neon Skies and Lilac Tree being two that stood out. Now being a big fan of the first 2 LPs this was the perfect show. Martin has been doing these Christmas shows for the last few years and has got together most of the original band to help him. At the start he came on and gave out awards to the long serving members of the Daintees. Anthony Dunn for 30 years service and Gary Dunn for 25 years. Amazing that after all this time the songs still feel and sound fresh. They even did Roll on Summertime the first single the band released back in 1982. It was twee and indie before twee and indie had been properly invented! It took 4 more years for their debut album to surface in 1986. But it was worth the wait. Boat to Bolivia is an out and out classic and I think every track was played tonight; Cocodile Cryer, Coleen, Running water, Slow Lovin’, Rain to name but half the tracks from this great album. I saw Martin and the boys do these songs many times back before and just after the albums release. They are as good tonight as they were then. Their second album took only 2 years to arrive but didn’t receive the plaudits of the first even though it is easily a match. Tonight; There comes a time, Slaughterman, Wholly Humble Heart and Goodbye John are polished down and released once again to an expectant audience. I didn’t see Martin much around the release of Gladsome, Humour and Blue and on tonights showing I missed out. Its only when you see a band like the Daintees live do you realise how many great songs they have. Many songs later and a lot of between song banter and our  taxi time is almost upon us. At 11:30, after what seemed like a lot less than two and a half hours, we left. They were onto the encore and had played both albums in full, I think, but I still hope I didn’t miss anything. Roll on next Christmas and a later taxi!

A big thank-you to Graham “Shipcote” Anderson for helping out with this review and to Martin himself, who I know doesn’t like the tag “Northern Icon” but to the rest of us he most certainly is.

By peter on December 24, 2010

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