Seasick Steve – Sheffield

Seasick Steve – Sheffield

Seasick Steve

Rarely does the O2 in Sheffield get this rammed, but the fact that the bearded enigma from Oakland, California, Steven Gene Wold, AKA Seasick Steve is in town, has meant that tonight it is full, very full.
First up tonight is My Baby from Amsterdam…they have been supporting Steve on his UK tour and they are a somewhat ethereal version of Steve’s blues. They are a three piece comprising Guitar, Guitar and Vocals and Drums – what is it with bands today and their dislike for bass players  – while their set is enjoyable and there are some catchy tunes in there, I think for this reviewer at least they were merely a morsel before the big meal !
Seasick Steve came to the UK consciousness in 2006 after being played on specialist blues stations he eventually made his UK TV appearance with a certain Mr Jools Holland on his Hootenanny that year. Since then Steve has toured and played festivals relentlessly and takes his place as one of those Americans that is more famous over here than he is over there, if you will.
And it seems that the gig-goers of Sheffield are aware of his fame and are out in their droves to see (or at least say they have seen) the great man. He has recently experienced some commercial success with his song “Summertime Boy” to add to his more underground appeal and this has done him no harm in terms of crowd size.
Much of the music tonight is, as you would suspect, pure hard blues, lyrics drawn from Steve’s own early life experiences on the road in the US, all belted out on guitars generally made from scrap. He has one made from an oilcan, one from a washboard – “I decided to build this geetar when I was washing my socks” and my particular favourite, one made from a pair of hubcaps from a Hudson Terraplane, one of which was given to Steve by a Mr Jack White (never heard of him !)
All in all I was enormously impressed with every single song and also the moments in-between. I have been a fan since 2006 and although I had not previously seen him, tonight was exactly what I wanted to hear and although there was a lot of chatting going on around the peripheral (even though they were warned) Steve’s music came through as an experience far more than just music, it came across as an evocation of the miles under his feet, the history of his days and the experiences of a lifetime.
If I had to pick highlights then it would have to be Steve playing his Record Store Day release on an old record player and then bursting into the song live on stage. What made this all the better was that this was song was non another than “Baby Please Don’t Go” originally by Big Joe Williams, but also covered more recognisably by another enigma, this time from Northern Ireland . Yes, that would be my highlight I reckon y’all.

t List

1. Thunderbird
2. Bring It On
3. Summertime Boy
4. Prospect Lane
5. Walkin’ Man
6. Baby Please Don’t Go
(Big Joe Williams cover)
7. Roy’s Gang
8. Swamp Dog
9. In Peaceful Dreams
10. Barracuda ’68
11. Keep on Keepin’ On
12. Encore:
12. Treasures
13. Doghouse Boogie
14. Silver Dagger

Supported by My Baby
O2 Academy Sheffield
16th April 2015
Words & Photos by Mark Loraine


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