Newcastle, City Hall, 26 May 2005

1 Jun 2005
Northern Echo

John Martyn, Newcastle City Hall

A COOL and charismatic John Martyn and his band played to a theatre only half filled, with a jet black drape as a backdrop.

Subtle lighting made the large figure on stage cradling the guitar easy on the eye, while sounds emanating from it were at times ecstasy for the ear.

He made complex chord changes look effortless as he delighted the crowd with songs from his folk, blues and rock repertoire, which goes back over three decades.

Martyn enjoyed light banter with the audience but it was difficult to work out what he was saying - his thick Scottish drawl was almost incomprehensible.

His die-hard fans all seemed suitably impressed with his performance, which was peppered with wailing guitar sections and a funky, jumping bass line. It wasn't all jive, though, and some of the slower pieces reminded me a little bit of cocktail bar music.

All in all, it was an enjoyable evening, and I particularly liked the acoustic version of I Don't Wanna Know. Most people rose to their feet as Martyn left the stage.