Natasha Steel

Review: The Lake Poets @ INDEPENDENT

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An emotional home crowd greeted The Lake Poets and friends

Lake Poets Independent

Two years ago Martin Longstaff probably never thought he would play a sold out gig in INDEPENDENT. But since his first show there a little over two years ago (and across the road now, since it’s moved house) a lot has happened for The Lake Poets, and rightly so.

Support came from This Little Bird, Trev Gibb and Nev Clay, and it was a shame to hear murmurs of conversation grow increasingly louder throughout the first two performances, especially when both Rebecca (This Little Bird) and Trev have great voices.

Comedy is introduced to the night when Nev Clay takes a seat on stage with his acoustic guitar, sharing anecdotes about his songs and interacting with the room. Breaking down one of his tracks and introducing each section gets a great amount of attention and laughter from the audience. The Ballad of Brian Cox is a particular favourite it seems, judging by the reaction in the room. Clay’s acoustic folk is something you need to see, particularly if you need cheering up as his lyrics about modern life are incredibly relatable.

After another trip to the bar for many in the room, it’s time for the headline act, the band we’ve all been waiting for, to perform. Martin takes to the stage alone to play acoustic tracks Windowsill and Friends, before asking the band to join him.

They play the singles Rain and April, the latter of which had airplay on Radio 1 before taking the mood down a notch for North View, a heartfelt dedication to Longstaff’s late grandmother. As he explains the story, the room is silent and I’m presuming I wasn’t the only one trying to swallow that lump in their throat.

“How many of you are from Sunderland?” Martin asks, before the band end the night with City By The Sea. Since the single’s release last year, the song that has become a local anthem and has everyone in the room singing back every word with all they have. As the final chord rings out and the applause subsides, the band gives their utmost thanks to everyone for coming along, supporting the band and donating to MND Trust.

“This is the highlight of my year” smiles Martin who looks astounded and incredibly touched by the appreciation the people in his hometown have for The Lake Poets.

The Lake Poets play The Mining Institute in Newcastle on Saturday 14th December. You can find out more about MND here.