With a carefree ease Steve Pledger roams among the tables in candle-lit venue chatting to most of an intimate audience before the show, our first impression of the marvels already revealed during tour somewhere between a beaten track. Last night a nature reserve in Maidenhead, Thurnby tonight's host of remarkable evening with a compassionate and compelling songsmith.
Greeting everyone for a second time (or third if he chatted at your table) welcoming new faces or the usual suspects with a quip of I must be doing it right. Steve performs a choice of favourites, the first two 'Parable Of Intent' and 'Matches In The Wind' both taken from his 2015 album "Striking Matches In The Wind". Stories on a diverse source of subjects present apt introduction to repertoire of social commentary that includes a darkness, at times seemingly taken lightly as in chorus song and tip of the hat to Woody Guthrie in 'This Land Is Pound land'. More satire in new song 'Doin Well' singles out establishments lack of care of duty. "14 Good Intentions" (first album and misnomer as with the bonus tracks has 16 songs) receives first airing with 'Inconveniently Beautiful' followed by the gentile 'In My Better Moments'.
Now an unstoppable force, taboo issues receive sensitive handling in the new but achingly beautiful songs 'Other' and 'Me And The Silence'. The fragility in both repaid with a moments silence before thunderous applause. Standing tall on the fiery assault of 'I Spat Fire' leads into song written from a dear friends account of 'A Louisa Miner' tender fare hiding a raw affront with corporate greed. Such is his stature, Steve in the absence of accompaniment carries every song with a greatness, the resulting studio production already on pre-order ahead of November 7th release.
Reboot to the show's opening song 'To Change The World', words that despite the world's discourse bring me continued faith in humanity. Promise complete a thoroughly entertaining and engaging night almost over.
Camp-fire lit during encore of 'Hallelujah' (Leonard Cohen), the hardy souls (armed with various instruments, blankets and sleeping bags) continue party into the early hours with song, story, recitals and much laughter. Departing early in these proceeding and drifting across the car park to the strains of someone playing - just a glance back reveals I had not misheard - Spoons.
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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