REVIEW: Martin Stephenson and The Daintees, Greystones, Sheffield.

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He could have gone on forever...

The sign on the door said the show would end at 10.45pm but anyone who has seen Martin Stephenson before knows that he doesn’t always follow instructions. He is one of those rare performers who still seems enthusiastic about live performances after a long career in which, despite his obvious songwriting skills, he has never got beyond the status of cult concern.

Not that the lack of mainstream success seems too much of a concern. A life as a wandering minstrel suits him. This was the second of two shows at the Sheffield venue and you get the feeling that if if hadn’t been for the licensing laws he would have just carried on playing from the previous night. He seems totally at home on stage – apart from the times he made his way into the crowd, even offering one surprised punter a kiss on the head. After a decent set by concert organiser Andy Whitehouse’s band The Silver Darlings, there was barely time to get a drink before the main attraction bounded onto stage. He often plays totally solo but this time has a band with him, including an original member of The Daintees, his act from the 80s who eventually fell apart after major record company interference and lack of chart placings.

His songs were punctuated, as usual, by banter and anecdotes from his life and career so far, sometimes surreal and often amusing. And as usual his music varied from rootsy to rocky, this time even with a bit of reggae thrown in.

The pub had long stopped serving and the streets were deserted by the time he finally finished. Almost no-one left before the end but there will have been a lot of bleary eyes today. Some of us have to get up in the morning you know...