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Review – solo show, Traders, Petersfield (Petersfield Post)

‘Guitar Gig Captivated Audience’

“It’s a gig, not a prison sentence,” quipped celebrated bass guitarist Steve Lawson during his recent intimate performance in Petersfield.

Steve’s comic aside was strictly unnecessary. His fears that an evening’s entertainment provided solely by a man and his bass guitar would send people scurrying to the bar were unfounded.

His Petersfield audience, upstairs at the Traders Club, were captivated by the groundbreaking music coaxed from a bewildering array of bass guitars, effects pedals and blinking electronic gizmos.

With his long curly hair and bookish spectacles, Steve may have the charming stage presence of an eccentric professor, but there is nothing scatterbrained about his compositions or performance.

His incredibly accomplished and instantly accessible playing, which won him many converts on his recent support slots with funk-pop act, Level 42, was clearly on full display.

His ‘bass looping’ technique, where melodies are repeated and layered in real time by his electronic arsenal, may sound a touch avante-garde, but the overal effect is breathtaking.

In Steve’s dextrous hands, the bass guitar is gracefully put through its paces, sounding Latin tinged one minute, and like a fleet of flying saucers the next, but always anchored to memorable tunes.

Mainly improvising around instrumentals from his latest [solo] CD ‘Not Dancing For Chicken’ (Pillow Mountain Records), Steve led the Petersfield audience on a captivating melodic journey, grinning with unrestrained glee at the end of each song.

It’s the combination of the man and his music that make two hours in Steve Lawson’s company effortlessly enjoyable.

Steve’s wry humour shines through, bantering between songs, cultivating a real rapport with the audience.

The traders Club crowd, long having abandoned preconceptions about a solo bass performance, encouraged Steve into a rare encore, no doubt anticipating his next visit in March.

Petersfield witnessed a real guitar alchemist at work, turning bass metals into gold.”
– Simon Berkovitch

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