SUNDAY FEBRUARY 4THSTEVE MASON
An Independent Venue Week show
Scottish singer, songwriter, and producer Steve Mason rose to widespread critical acclaim in the late ’90s as a member of indie darlings The Beta Band. With their creative songscrap approach and maverick attitude, The Beta Band earned a somewhat notorious reputation among fans and the U.K. press during the post-Brit-pop era, thanks to releases like 1998’s The Three EP’s and 2001’s Hot Shots II. During ‘s heyday and following their 2004 breakup, Mason also recorded as and later set out on a proper solo career with albums like 2013’s highly rated Monkey Minds in the Devil’s Time and 2019’s About the Light. Mason’s powerful fifth solo album, 2023’s Brothers & Sisters, saw him addressing the contemporary political landscape.
Mason initially formed as a duo in the mid-’90s with fellow Fife native Gordon Anderson, although Anderson’s involvement proved to be short-lived. Following his departure, the group coalesced around Robin Jones on drums, John Maclean on keyboards, sampler, and turntables, and Richard Greentree on bass, with Mason serving as the group’s unofficial leader from that point onward. The Beta Band earned heaps of critical praise with an opening salvo of three EPs, all released on Regal and leading up to the appearance of their acclaimed debut album, 1999’s The Beta Band. (Their fame only grew after they were name-dropped in the film High Fidelity by John Cusack, whose character claimed — and then proved — that he could immediately sell five copies of their EP collection The Three E.P.’s simply by playing one track.) The follow-up, Hot Shots II, earned greater praise, although shortly after their third release, 2004’s Heroes to Zeros, the group disbanded.
Mason had already debuted a solo project, King Biscuit Time, late in 1998, and during the 18 months that followed the Beat Band’s breakup, he released a pair of King Biscuit singles — including “C I AM 15,” which reached number 67 on the British charts — and a full-length album, 2006’s Black Gold. One year later, he launched an electronica project called Black Affair, and a techno-influenced LP titled Pleasure Pressure Point appeared on V2 in 2008. Recording for the first time under his own name, Mason issued his proper solo debut, 2010’s Boys Outside. Featuring production help from Richard X, the album appeared on the Domino-distributed Double Six label and blended some of ‘s sonic aesthetic with a more refined and poignant songwriting style.
In early 2013, Mason returned with a sprawling album that would define much of his solo work going forward. Over the course of its 20 tracks, the acclaimed Monkey Minds in the Devil’s Time explored depression, politics, and human nature, bringing together many genres to create a mesmerising experience. Turning his attention inward, Mason’s next record focused purely on himself. Wringing out personal emotions and experiences, 2016’s Meet the Humans brought aboard Craig Potter () to produce. For his next project, Mason wanted some of the feel and spontaneity of concerts and used a live band throughout the recording process to make 2019’s more organic About the Light.
Attuned to the chaos and tumult of the times, Mason dug back into more overtly political songwriting on Brothers & Sisters. Released in 2023, the album fused anti-Brexit and pro-immigration messages with South Asian instrumentation and a tone that at times is quite joyous.
@ The Black Prince
15 Abington Square, Northampton NN1 4AE
Tickets on sale now from: https://skiddle.com/e/36738894
The venue is 16+ [under 18s to be accompanied by a legal guardian]
The multi-story St Michael’s car park [entrance on St. Michael’s Road, exit on Abington Square] is a 40 second walk from The Black Prince