Jon Stevens at Camden Assembly
Australian rock legend Jon Stevens electrified Camden Assembly last night with his vibrant, driving instrumentals and magnificent, ferocious vocals. Accompanied by a terrific band consisting of three other guitarists, a keyboardist, a drummer and a back-up singer, he lit up the venue with his energy and charisma.
Front man for INXS for three years, lead singer for Noiseworks and The Dead Daisies, and a collaborator with greats such as Ringo Starr, Slash and Axl Rose, Stevens has had a long, prolific and successful career and a loyal fan base, many of whom follow him on tour.
Highlighting several songs from his new album Starlight – and a few from Noiseworks, The Dead Daisies and INXS – the set was lively and mesmerising. A rousing Devil in My Heart preceded the superb Hold On – animating the crowd – after which the high-powered metal-style It’s Gonna Take Time was invigorating. Oh Lord, with its fantastic bluesy rock, included some awesome guitar solos by the other players, followed by Something Bout You with its hint of soul and the super cool All About the People. Exuberant, dynamic, very danceable classic rock-sounding What Makes You Happy prompted an irresistible impulse to move – the audience never stopped – and Starlight’s title track was the one moody, slightly folksy ballad. Delivering no fewer than four encore performances, they included the requested Simple Man – an excellent classic – and the 80s favourite Touch, during which Stevens reached out to hold hands with as many fans as he could.
The combined use of acoustic and electric guitars was interesting and effective, and the musician’s numbers on acoustic were impressive. In general, his music is top of the line, but the sound system for this gig was much too loud – literally deafening – creating a general buzz and obscuring clarity of vocals and instrumentals; perhaps it would better suit a huge concert hall rather than such a tiny space. As a result, Jon Stevens’s brilliance was not accentuated (even though his loyal fans clearly didn’t care). One of the few instances where recorded material sounds much better than the live show, it’s an issue that would likely be solved with some technical tweaks. Otherwise, the star’s singing and the band’s energy and power were exhilarating. Stevens also seems to be quite a mensch and down to earth, which is part of his appeal as an artist.
Photo: Eva Rinaldi
For further information about Jon Stevens and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Hold On here: