Steve Mason

Music |
8th December 2023

Doors 7.30pm | Plus Support BossyKing | Tickets £25.50 | Malt Room Standing

Familiar to millions for his work in 90s experimental indie band The Beta Band, Steve Mason has since gone on to forge a hugely successful solo career. His creative force is only getting stronger, and we welcome him to Kendal to play songs from his enormous back catalogue and latest solo LP, 2023’s ‘Brothers and Sisters’.

Chat to Steve about his fifth solo album – the stirring and stunning Brothers & Sisters – and all manner of musical touch points crop up. From Wu-Tang Clan and LTJ Bukem to Adam & The Ants and Public Image Limited by way of Mahalia Jackson and The Cramps, Mason not only knows his musical onions, but remains resolutely a fan. However, when it came to looking for guidance and inspiration for the best album of his career – no mean feat when you consider his back catalogue – his cultural lodestar was expertly chosen.

“David Bowie said that artists should push themselves to a point where they felt slightly out of their depth,” he explains. “Because that’s where the magic happens. And there were a lot of times during the making of this record that I felt like that. And I quite enjoyed that. Because I haven’t felt like that for quite a long time. It’s felt quite safe over the last few albums. It’s that thing… the fear of failure, it’s then when you realise the failure could be spectacular. It’s what drives you to make this thing work. To keep pushing forward.”

In the wake of his fourth album, About The Light, Mason, one of British music’s true 21st Century renegades, with a back catalogue that has taken in electro, dub, indie rock, electronica, hip hop, folk and everything in-between, felt creatively bereft. Allied to this was the weight of adult responsibility that was starting to bear down heavily on him. In the space of a year he’d got married, had a child and bought a house. The spectre of making a safe, radio-friendly record – a sensation he felt he had already encroached upon with About The Light – didn’t sit easily.

So in order to become an artist again, the erstwhile Beta Band frontman knew he had to demolish what he had become. Or was in danger of becoming. He had to become a child again. Which, funnily enough, was what being in The Beta Band – that wondrously electrifying, infuriatingly magical Anglo-Scottish four-piece – resembled.

In 2020 then, at a time when the world seemed to be falling apart, Mason went on his own destructive crusade. To completely cleanse himself of any radio-friendly, formulaic mediocrity and rediscover his artistic calling wasn’t an easy process. Experimenting with various approaches enabled him to shed some layers, but it wasn’t until he realised that everything he’s most proud of starts with a song that things really began to positively unravel – as it were.

The finished album is arguably the most open, honest and vibrant record of Mason’s career. Like many of his previous records it marries the personal and the political but does so in an emotive and uplifting manner. Written against a backdrop of fear and uncertainty, and at a time when those in charge lurched from one disaster to the next mismanagement with increasing regularity, Brothers & Sisters is in fact an incredibly joyous, even spiritual, listen.


Bossy King

BossyKing is the collaboration of songwriter Lauren Davey and Producer Wayne Scurrah. From their studio in the Lake District, UK. Layered harmonies, intricate guitars and dance floor bass lines.

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8th December 2023

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