Live Review | Martyn Joseph | The Greystones, Sheffield | 26/11/17

Martyn Joseph is a well-known Welsh singer-songwriter who is known for touring America a hell of a lot and doing everything he can to be hugely charitable. Recently, he was doing a music project in Palestine, giving children a place to vent and let out their emotions during an incredibly awful time in their lives. He has also done similar projects in Guatemala, throughout Africa, Mumbai, and in Canada. The ‘theatre projects’ for children give parents more time to work, to find work, and break the circle of poverty.

The venue was packed from the outset with the energy and excitement in the room running high. On stage at 20:15 on the dot and, straight away, began the first two songs, instantly owning the stage. He sung like he’s never sung these songs before; an unparalleled solo performer.

Out came the harmonica for that American country/blues sound he does so well. Joseph told us about his recent tour in America, effortlessly making us all laugh with his hilarious song about Trump, referencing his “stupid tweets. In the middle of the song there was a power cut but Martyn took it in his stride and incorporated the surprise into his lyrics. He then launched into one of his new songs, "Here Come The Young", quickly showing us how we can all join in. This song talks about the open-minded, inclusive young who are tired of poverty and crushed dreams, rising oceans and bigotry: “you better watch your backs cos’ they’re coming for you now.”

He started the second half of the set by playing a long instrumental until the audience started to quieten down and pay attention. The highlight of the night was when he played "I’m On My Way" - one of his most popular songs. He had the crowd singing the chorus on their own and he came wandering into the audience, right to the back to the room too.

Throughout the gig he played a mixture of old and new songs. "Grateful" was hilarious and heartwarming and "Cardiff Bay" is heartbreaking whilst "Working Mother" sends a powerful message. The show worked through every emotion. A lot of his songs are a cry for people’s rights and the wrongs done to them. ‘These people have been done wrong; this is what we can do about it.’ and that really resonated with this crowd.

Each of his songs have a poignant meaning and he gets the point across so well. Even when he forgot the words the crowd knew what he meant! Martyn Joseph never disappoints, he is always fabulous - but there was just something about this gig that was better. He created a communal feeling in the audience, he pumped in emotion, drive, and energy. He was engaging and loving, passionate and entertaining. He ended the gig (his second encore) with a Mary Oliver poem called "On Travelling to Beautiful Places", and what a perfect ending to the show and to the tour!