Yesterday evening we headed back to the Milton Keynes International Festival site for a bit to listen to some more acoustic music and the set we caught up with was by Steve Winch. I’m taking it the website links to the right person, because I got it from The Stables website where he is appearing in October as support to Simon Townsend…..but I’m not entirely convinced as it makes no reference to Small Town Adventures in Hi Fi, his debut album. In fact in this age of social media and online content he appears to have a v. low profile, for example the only FB page I could find was a standard one where you had to request to be added rather than simply being able to like. Whether this low profile approach is part of a strategy I am unsure….if it’s not I hope that he or his management get it rectified because he deserves to be a much bigger artist than he is. We’d not come across him before and hadn’t been that blown away by anything since stumbling across Grace Petrie, (who plays a similar kind of music), last year at Greenbelt.
The sound check gave the first indication that this was going to be enjoyable, he played part of Billy Bragg’s To Have and To Have Not….something I kept hoping he would be singing in full on the couple of occasions he introduced covers. The snatch he played to get the levels right was excellent.
The set began with Some Where South of Heaven which was a Folk Punk number which mixed religious imagery with anti-capitalist politics in the lyrics. Like Bragg, Petrie and others of their ilk he mixed these overtly political numbers with reality love songs and the second number he played Little White Lies fitted into the second category.
One of my favourite songs of the evening was CV of Despair which talked about the problems and angst of job hunting and finding only rejection. The structural reasons behind this situation as well as its effects were discussed through some deep and poignant lyrics.
A harmonica emerged to accompany the guitar, (which needed constantly retuning due to the heat), on the forth number Price I Must Pay. This led into a cover of The Jam’s That’s Entertainment which rocked. The mood then switched back and we heard the most moving song of the evening; All the Young Men which was a deep anti war song.
Unrequited Everything was another reality love song and preceded a rant about Springsteen being cut off at Hyde Park. This rant was given in the context of introducing a beautiful version of Born to Run which was the penultimate song of the evening.
The final song of the set Wishing Well saw a switch in tempo away from Folk Punk and into Blue Grass – a style that Winch played well and could be introduced further into the set. There were echoes in my mind of hearing Old Crow Medicine Show at Cambridge a few years ago as he played this one.
TOH took a few photos on his phone of the evening and the beautiful tent. They are not overly bright due to the lack of lighting, etc but in addition to showing the contemporary man in black who must have been sweating loads in his beanie they also show the lamp shade and the design of the tent which were beautiful.