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The Steepwater Band at Bush Hall London March 2010

I found myself on the North Circular in the middle of rush hour in London  yesterday and I wasn’t in the least bit concerned, I was heading off to see The Steepwater Band, over for one night in London and looking forward to what I hoped would be a good night.

The Steepwater Band

The Steepwater Band

The iconic Bush Hall, in Shepherd’s Bush, which has seen much prodigious talent swing through the doors was an appropriate venue for the first UK appearance of one of the worlds hardest working touring bands.

I have written many times about the incredible tour schedule of Tod, Jeff and Joe, what I was absolutely astounded by was the genuine enthusiasm these guys display prior to the gig, where they showed a real interest in the people who had come to see them, during the set, which I must get round to writing about and afterwards, when while packing away their gear, a flight back to the US facing them and this being the final gig on a European tour, they still wanted time to get to meet their fans. Hats off to the trio who make up The Steepwater Band, many aspiring bands would do well to take time out to remember why they started in the first place and how these guys manage, after the best part of 12 years on the road to still remain so enthusiastic.

I had a chat with the band prior to and after the gig and will be writing an article on another date, thanks for organising that Angela (hope the 5th September goes well, I’ll raise a toast in the UK on your wedding day to Joe) and Steve, who even found time to write me out the 15 song set-list while managing the merchandising stall and sorting out final preparations.

Having parked just 30 yards from the venue I arrived in time to catch the end of The Steepwater Band sound-check and I will skip the intervening couple of hours (for now) you will be pleased to hear and get on to the set itself.

Just after 21:30 the band took to the stage and within minutes and absolutely no fuss, we were off in to Fire Away, quite a few people had moved towards the front of the stage, but there were still some upstairs in the Balcony and many more hanging back a little, by the time we got to Roadblock, the second song, the front of the stage was backed up and looking up to the balcony, there was one solitary figure, everyone else had come downstairs. By All the Way to Nowhere (song three), Bush Hall had turned back to the dance-hall of old as the infectious enthusiasm of the band had washed over the audience.

Watching Tod on bass is an absolute delight, he picks out powerful bass lines, which set a hypnotising rhythm, while disappearing in to the trance you more often see from superb lead guitarists. Here is a guy who really does enjoy playing the bass, all the time keeping up a great swivel leg hop. It was so intoxicating I even found myself engrossed by his shadow cast over the side wall of the stage.

Tod Bowers | The Steepwater Band

Tod Bowers | The Steepwater Band

Joe, what can I say, a string of power adjectives wouldn’t do justice to his absolutely on the beat drumming. You wouldn’t have known it from the front, but Joe was actually fighting with an unfamiliar drum-kit, which had him hunched at the back of the stage, if that was him playing the unfamiliar, all I can think is on his own kit…. As he said afterwards, if you are going to go for a beat, ‘…drum it as if you mean it…’, I don’t think anyone at Bush Hall had any doubt he meant absolutely everyone of those hundreds of beats last night, a real pleasure to watch and hear. Sharp, powerful and full use of the kit, I really enjoyed it.

Joe Winters | The Steepwater Band

Joe Winters | The Steepwater Band

While I am running round the band, a quick mention to Jeff, I could talk about his superb vocals, which ranged, last night from the soulful Stars Look Good Tonight to the rock of Indiana Line. I could write about the absolutely lighting chord shifts, where his hand disappeared in to a blur of finger stretches and impossible joint angles, if I wanted to it would be possible to write a paragraph on the unbelievable speed of some of his strumming, countered by incredibly soft picking.

Jeff Massey | The Steepwater Band

Jeff Massey | The Steepwater Band

So far I have described a trio of absolutely on the spot musicians, but what makes The Steepwater Band so special is the three together.

I felt as though I was at a special one off concert, not seeing a band who play most nights of the week, every week, at the end of a hard European tour. To the trio, this was a concert that really mattered, the venue may not have been full, (but that is wet Monday nights in the middle of a recession, though I should add, my journey from Cambridge wasn’t the furthest, when I spoke to some of the crowd both before and after the gig.) we were made to feel part of something magical and as importantly to The Steepwater Band this gig did matter, as this is what they love to do and I am quite sure every gig is played with that same enthusiasm and love for what they are doing.

I absolutely recommend getting out to see the band and I hope the world they tour stretches further, they play some superb music and it crosses a wide musical path. I also believe that the bands who are suffering from fan fatigue, should by compulsion, get to see these guys, it should snap a few egos.

After an hour long, fourteen track set, they invited Andy De Rosa from Andy De Rosa & Electric Mojo, who had played second act last night, to join them for their final song, Stop Breakin’ Down. With that, the gig had finished, but as I mentioned at the start of this review, they all then appeared but moments later to talk to the people who had just watched them, to find out what they thought and to make sure we had enjoyed it.

For more great indie bands from around the world, join our free weekly newsletter, you will find The Steepwater Band an almost unending entry on the ‘gigs this week’ section

Related posts:

Krakatoa - November Tour retrospective
Foxy Shazam | Flowerpot Camden February 2010
Band of the week 3rd April 2010

Comments

4 Responses to “The Steepwater Band at Bush Hall London March 2010”
  1. SteveS says:

    Hi,

    Currently a producer/ host for Distract TV
    We are on the lookout for unsigned bands to feature on our Live Lounge sessions in London Soho October 31. If you know an Indie Band/ Hip Hop/ or Pop band or are interested yourself.

    Please get in contact distracttv@mail.com

    Please send across links to music material and short bio.

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  1. [...] a couple of years ago while they were hunting for food pre-gig while the opening support for The Steepwater Band at Bush Hall. They have grown in musical ability and confidence over the time and it is of [...]

  2. [...] As soon as the gig had finished the trio were back to the audience, ensuring we had enjoyed it. Throughout the set, they were absolutely committed to the gig, sure for a UK audience the drum roll over Jeff’s [...]



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