For the first time I can remember I'm off to see an artist Fatea has announced as Lifetime Achievement Award winner within a couple of days of them getting the award. Fittingly it happens to be at a venue that would have it's own lifetime achievement award, if we gave them to venues, the Half Moon at Putney.
Like all decent venues these days, the Half Moon does a good line in food as well as beer and as I'm travelling by train this evening there's a good chance to sample both.
Fully revitalised, it's time to head into the music room and find a good spot. There is a small amount of seating spread around the edges of the room, but it's a standing gig. It's something Martyn comments on when he takes to the stage for the first of his two sets.
There's an impressive array of guitars on stage, which, even if you didn't know his musical history, would tell you that this was a night that was going to combine subtly and power.
It's not just that Martyn Joseph is a great singer songwriter, he I'd also a top interpreter of other people's songs which makes him such a good entertainer. He's also got a great sense of humour, something he shows during his first set as he shouts Judas whilst reaching for the electric guitar to save the audience the effort.
One of the reasons for his longevity is the passion he puts into his music, regardless of whether he is rocking out or playing a more sensitive ballad, you get the impression that he is feeling every single note.
He also has a fantastic relationship with his audience, he trusts them, not only on the call and response songs, but also on the banter. There is a slot on the second set where he gives the full breakdown on one of his instruments, right down to the string weights because "It'll save a 5 minute conversation with one of you after the gig."
Across the two sets he plays songs that are personal and political. Some support causes that he has been involved with over the years, he has raised thousands of pounds to help improve lives around the world, others reflect more emotional events. He finds time to go off set and play a song that has a real meaning for a couple in the audience. Whilst he's a little ring rusty on the words, boy can you feel the sentiment.
It was a brilliant night, Martyn Joseph is a consumate performer, this was entertainment at it's best and there was still a surprise to come.
I thought I had clocked Rob Brydon at the interval, but wasn't a hundred percent sure, but seeing him join his fellow Welsh performer on stage for the second song in the encore confirmed it without a doubt. Rob and Martyn rounded off the evening with Springsteen's Thunder Road, a totally unexpected end to a top evening of entertainment.
Neil King - Words & PicturesA gallery of pictures from the night can be found at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/fateapics/albums/72157668462917299
There are only so many hours in a day and only so many gigs we can get to. We'd really like to expand our national coverage of the live scene as it remains the life blood of music.
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