Concert Review – Steve Knightley

Review by Ben Macnair

Lichfield Guildhall proved to be a very busy place when the critically acclaimed singer songwriter Steve Knightley performed there as part of his songs and stories tour.

The sell out audience showed the popularity of Knightley, best known as one third of Show of Hands with Phil Beer and Miranda Sykes, and this show touched more on the life of Steve Knightley, his major influences, life events and his development as a singer and guitarist.

Steve Knightley - Lichfield Arts - Lichfield Guildhall

Set opener, Bob Dylan’s It Ain’t Me Babe went from being a straight reading of the song into an examination of guitar playing styles, and the development of Knightley’s interest in English folk, whilst second song the traditional The Banks of Newfoundland explored alternative tunings, and Knightley’s interpretive ability as a singer.

Further anecdotes included his meetings with the poet Ted Hughes and singer Martin Carthy, whilst two of his own songs, the baroque pop of The Hook of Love and Sit Me Down closed the first half.

Steve Knightley - Lichfield Arts - Lichfield Guildhall

The second half of the concert included more instruments, with a Cuatro and a Cello Mandolin adding different timbres and tonal qualities to songs, such as Make The Right Noises which included verses of the song played on each instrument, as well as Prince’s Purple Rain and Bruce Springsteen’s One Step Up revealing new depth and details in these different arrangements.

Be Lucky was a rock song that told the travails of trying to make it big in the music industry, whilst The Dive which closed the concert was a touching love song about being there for people during their most difficult time.

Steve Knightley - Lichfield Arts - Lichfield Guildhall

The encore was a medley of his better known songs, Roots, AIG (Arrogance, Ignorance and Greed) Farming Life and Cousin Jack that would have been better being played in their entirety throughout the main body of the concert, but this was a minor gripe in a concert that had already offered so much.

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