A Updated

I have now seen Space Elevator five times, and never been disappointed.

Stoke: Eleven - 23rd April 2023

A mere six months after Space Elevator were last in Stoke, they were back again; once more for a Sunday afternoon show at the excellent Eleven venue. Despite the efforts of some M6 roadworks, I still managed to arrive in time to soak up some of the relaxed atmosphere, whilst chatting to one or two members of the expectant audience.

At 3pm exactly almost everyone checked their phones to see the Government alert. This proved to be the source of some amusement as the five-piece band took to the stage. The first set began with three songs from the imaginatively titled ‘Space Elevator II’ album from 2018. The energy levels were great from the start and these never dropped during the whole show. One noticeable difference was that Andy Carr was playing bass guitar, instead of Chas Maguire. Despite only meeting the band a week earlier, he fit in very well. As usual with the venue, the sound was excellent. This meant the role of everyone in the band was highlighted clearly. Sometimes it is hard to believe that Space Elevator do not tour all year round, as they as such a well-oiled live machine. Michael Bramwell was recruited in 2022 and his role as keyboard player and rhythm guitarist really does flesh out the sound. The unassuming Brian Greene was hidden behind his drum kit for most of the performance, yet made his presence felt throughout, delivering a faultless lesson in time-keeping. The airing of a new song, ‘Boudoir’, was an unexpected early surprise, being the result of writing sessions with the legendary Russ Ballard. Hopefully this means we can expect some new music in the not-too-distant future. The cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Don’t Believe A Word’, alongside ‘Loneliness Of Love’ from the 2014 debut, saw some sublime soloing by David Young and also saw The Duchess make singing seem effortless. ‘We Are The Losers’ and ‘We Can Fly’ brought the first set to a close and forty-five minutes had passed in the blink of an eye.

The second set focused primarily on 2022’s fantastic ‘Persona Non Grata’ release. The momentum was maintained through the likes of ‘Duchess Of This Town’, ‘Cheerful Frank’, ‘Love You Better’, ‘First Girl On The Moon’ and ‘Stevie Nicks Smile’ and the band genuinely seemed to be having a great time on stage. By now many people had left their seats and taken a position nearer the front of the room. The Duchess was allowed several costume changes and the addition of a Slayer t-shirt brought a big smile to my face (a cover of one of the tracks from ‘Reign In Blood’ during the next tour perhaps?). ‘Passive Aggression’ and ‘Persona Non Grata’ kept things going, before ‘W.Y.T.A.T. (What You Think About That)’ brought things to a close properly.

I have now seen Space Elevator five times, and never been disappointed. Tours are generally short and infrequent, but when they do occur they are full of quality performances, showcasing quality songs. Matinee gigs (especially on a Sunday, before work on a Monday) are the future. David Young said we’d be home in time for Songs Of Praise. I'll just have to assume that was the case.

Dave Bott

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