Steve Mason – Hebden Bridge Trades Club: The view from Far Out

Every now and again an opportunity to escape our usual musical metropolis and head for the hills proves just too good to refuse.

Such was the case when we got wind of one of our favourite singer-songwriters performing at the iconic Hebden Bridge Trades Club.

There’s something that adds a bit more magic being able to see an artist within leafy surroundings like this, and even with that disregarded, the beer is a hell of a lot cheaper!

Having seen Steve Mason with full band on his recent Meet the Humans tour and on the festival circuit, we go into this one thinking we already know what to expect to some extent, but that proves to be pretty ill-founded.

For this tour of towns and cities untouched by the previous dates, Mason has streamlined his usual five-piece ensemble and comes as part of a trio.

That’s not where the revelations end either. Past outings have seen the band stick to the solo material from Steve’s three most recent offerings, but this time he rewinds a little further.

There are stripped-back versions of Beta Band classics including ‘Dog’s Got a Bone’ and ‘Dr. Baker’ which get a joyous feeling of nostalgia floating around the room. It’s a kind of positivity that even a brief scuffle that causes Mason to restart a tune cannot sour.

He flits between electric and acoustic guitar and promises those down the back of the very flat room that they will get to see him in a few songs time once he stands up out of his chair.

He does indeed oblige and it’s wonderful to see how snugly past triumphs can be assimilated next to more recent hits like ‘Alive’ and ‘Planet Sizes’.

An encore that brings the house down is then the perfect icing on the cake, with Mason bowing out with a meteoric sing-along of ‘Dry the Rain’ – probably his former project’s biggest hit and one that we wrongly thought had been sidelined from solo gigs. It’s a spellbinding end to a wonderful evening.

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