The Fleece, Bristol
6th November 2013
Ex Beta Band man Steve Mason delivers a politically charged set in Bristol and Philip Allen listens admiringly.
Last spring, Steve Mason released his second and most successful solo album to date with Monkey Minds In The Devil Time. A politically charged statement from the former Beta Band singer that evokes British working class issues in a way that no-one else seems to be brave enough to do these days. The “humble mumbler” as I like to call him is taking on the establishment one song at a time and tonight at the Fleece, Mason is on form.
The Experimental Indie Dub Groove that Mason is renowned for is in full effect tonight with opening track Lost & Found, from his last album, Boys Outside, which gets the heads and feet moving. New songs like Oh My Lord and A Lot Of Love have an honest core in which he critiques the political pawns that play their games for their own ends with no real care for the welfare of the public. All Over You from his King Biscuit Time album, Black Gold, is one of the highlights of the set with it’s moving vocals and beautifully crafted guitar melodies.
On stage, Mason and his band come over rather unassuming. Their “realness” and ultimately Mason’s vocals capture his personality perfectly. On, All Come Down, the building melodies and sparse beats develop into a mesmerising experience in which a unity is reached in the room. The groove is given a tempo boost with Fire in which Mason’s high pitched vocals invoke the burning question, “where do we go from here?”
Tonight’s encore is more of the same with More Money, More Fire and Fight Them Back giving the defiant deceleration a rather darker tone. I do find his call to arms a little out of character but sometimes strong words are needed to wake the masses up to their own demise. Mason is the rebel underdog and if it takes such tactics then who better. This audience are listening and loving Mason’s music right now. A distinctive voice and talent needed in today’s inane pop culture.
All words by Philip Allen. More work by Philip can be found in his Louder Than War archive.