‘A Day And A Night With…’ is our feature where we spend some quality time with one of our favourite bands or artists – before, during and/or after a live show. And this week, TFFT writer and photographer Victoria Ling brings you her afternoon and evening spent with the wonderful Martin Longstaff, aka The Lake Poets, at both Newcastle’s Wylam Brewery and London’s St. Pancras Old Church…
On a Monday evening earlier in May, I witnessed The Lake Poets play Newcastle’s Wylam Brewery, a huge and stunning circular room with a capacity of about 800. It was packed. On the Thursday I just happened to be in London as was Marty, so decided to catch up with him again. This time he was playing the St. Pancras Old Church – quite a contrast to Monday. Just as stunning a venue, but with capacity at about 120 and the lights low to suit the mood – very intimate. That’s the thing with Marty, he always seems to pick stunning venues, or the stunning venues pick him.
I arrived mid-soundcheck to see Marty and fellow musician Jordan Miller on keyboards. Another beauty of St. Pancras Old Church was the in-house piano which Jordan took advantage of, as did support acts Oh Messy Life and Emily Watts. This was going to be some night.
As doors opened, the audience flowed through and took up every seat laid out. By the time Marty was due on, a few more seats were required. There was a curfew set but just before The Lake Poets were due to perform, news came that the curfew could be extended and who wouldn’t take advantage of that? A handful of other songs were added and there were only one or two in the crowd that had to stick to the original deadline and shoot off for the last train.
The night was a mix of older and much loved material, with an introduction to a few new songs that are set to feature on a new album coming later this year. When Marty performs See You Tonight, he admits it was written during a miserable time and missing his now wife. He admits that a lot of his new material has been inspired by the positive place he is now in, mainly due to being happily married and settled, but being the person that he is, he will still reflect misery in his songwriting. That is the thing with Marty – he brings the beauty in sadness and a smile to the happy times. Even in his storytelling between songs there is laughter amongst the audience. It is hard not to be content when you are around Marty, even if your heart is breaking at the same time. I guess the famous saying; ‘music is medicine’ could be applied to The Lake Poets.
If you ever get to see Marty / The Lake Poets play live, only a heart of stone would not be moved by his performance and it is no wonder that on both the Monday in Newcastle and this night in London, many people were waiting after the set to talk with him or just simply shake his hand as a thank you for having his music in their life. There will be more of this to come as he is currently in Germany testing his new material, before adding the finishing touches to what is to become album number two. He will then be hitting the road again around the UK in September and October, and we at Thank Folk will be ready for it.
Words & Images by Victoria Ling