It would have been so easy for Seasick Steve to infiltrate the crowd of his own gig. For one night only, Sheffield 02 Academy was filled with men of a certain age, complete with beards and baseball caps. But that’s not to say it was only the older generation at this gig. The audience spanned from kids with their parent, teenagers right up to the more senior gig goer. it just goes to show that great music, regardless of its genre spans all generations. There was a real buzz in the air as the crowd waited for the man himself to get on stage. But it’s only to be expected when a global star of this calibre is about to grace the stage of the Academy.
Before the main act came on, we were treated to some great music from support , Netherlands based band My Baby. They are three people who don’t look like they belong together, but it totally works. Their sound is a mix of blues and soul with a modern twist. Lead singer Cato blasts out vocals so powerful that you wouldn’t expect them to come from someone with such a tiny frame, and she makes it all look so effortless. Along with the rest of the band, she is so watchable. If it is the support band’s job to rev the crowd up for the main event, then they certainly did their job. The whole room was dancing and ready for a great night.
Seasick Steve himself is a hugely likeable character. It is probably one of the reasons that the world has taken him to their hearts. In 2006 he was an unemployed session musician and couldn’t even get a job playing in a bar. How do I know this? Because he told me, along with the other two-thousand people at this sold out gig. He is as good a story teller as he is a talented musician. Between every song was a story about where the song he was about to play came from. Each one was a glimpse into a really interesting life. I mean, what great story doesn’t begin with ‘in 1967 when I was hitch-hiking across Wyoming…’? He also showed his support for National record shop day by telling us about the authentic way in which he recorded his new album, talking us though the cover artwork for the vinyl of his new album ‘Sonic soul surfer.’ ‘If you haven’t seen one of these, check this shit out’ he told the younger end of the audience.
The mammoth two-hour set was made up of just fourteen songs. Each was an extended version of songs from his eight studio albums. Many of which were from his latest, giving fans a chance to see these songs performed live for the first time. From the huge rock n roll numbers such as set opener ‘Thunderbird’ and ‘Bring it on’ to the more tender moments such as ‘In peaceful dreams’ and encore closer ‘Silver dagger’. ‘Doghouse Boogie’ fit neatly into the middle of the encore and was a clear highlight. It is obviously a favourite track of his to play live too, as we were treated to multiple reprises of the song.
It’s hard to believe that Seasick Steve didn’t release a song until he was in his sixties. Even with his global success, he doesn’t act like a ‘star’. He is merely a man who just loves singing and performing. If there wasn’t an eleven-o-clock curfew he would undoubtably carried on playing all night. Can you imagine how fun a lock in with this guy would be? I’ve no doubt that Seasick Steve will continue to entertain us for many years to come, but can you imagine what kind of amazing back catalogue he could have had with a forty or fifty year career behind him? No doubt he wouldn’t be the same hugely interesting character without his amazing back story.
Bring it on
Baby please don’t go
In peaceful dreams
Keep on keepin’ on
For more info on this legendary singer, go to his website seasicksteve.com