Martyn Joseph is a performer like no other: Shades of Springsteen, John Mayer, Bruce Cockburn and Dave Matthews there may be - but he stands in his own right, built on a reputation for giving what thousands have described as the best live music experience of their lives delivering his "songs of lyrical intelligence" according to BBC Radio 2's Bob Harris.

November 27, 1999 5:32 pm

Luton Artezium (Mac)

Hi everyone – Mac here. Once again it is my turn to write the journal for the show, and as usual it’s unique. Had a brief hiatus from the tour on Friday night for Dave and Sarah’s wedding ( which Martyn was NOT asked to sing at ??? ), but returned to my post for the show in Luton.

As the guys ( and Gaynor ) were in hotels last night, I had to journey up to Luton via train. I arrived in Luton station and my plan was to take a cab to the venue. As I left the train there were signs for “Way Out” pointing to the right, and “Taxis, Buses, etc.” to the left. As I was taking a cab, I went left. I just missed the 5 cabs sitting there as others managed to snag them before me ( if they’d known I was Martyn Joseph’s sound guy, I’m sure they would have acted differently ), and after another 5 minute wait it was my turn. I hopped in the taxi and explained that I was going to the Artezium on Bute St. I figured this was probably sufficient enough directions as how many Arteziums on Bute St could there be in Luton? Unfortunately the driver and I had a hard time understanding each other, as he kept asking me what type of Bike Shop I wanted to go to??? Anyways, we started on our way and after a few minutes we had arrived at the Artezium. I paid my fare and got out. As I walked across the street to the venue I looked up and what did I see – the staircase to the train station of course!!! I tried to catch the taxi but….. Anyone seeing a short cab driver in Luton with a mustache, who constantly mumbles something about Bike Shops….let me know!

After arriving at the venue for the soundcheck I was relieved to find that Martyn ( as has been his Modis Operandi all tour ) had arranged to have the sound desk and gear placed in a closet that also housed the heating and air conditioning equipment. It did have a 1ft x 1ft window that had been carved out of the wall, which enabled me to see ( if not actually hear ) Martyn and Nige on stage. I was certain however, that people would probably
mistake me for a pub cook and try to order chips and burgers all night! Luckily the door to my closet opened to behind the bar itself so I could actually make an adjustment to the mix, do an agile “side shuffle” out the door ( I knew all those years of cross-over drills in practice would come in handy some day! ), and then “side shuffle” back into my little closet ( somewhat like a crab, actually )

Despite my usual banishment to storage areas, the guys once again played magnificently to a sold out house. The “musical nemesis” – Mayor of Candor Lied – was pounded out to perfection as the guys sounded tighter than ever on stage. As usual, I was witness to people sitting absolutely mesmerized by tracks like “The Good In Me Is Dead”, “Cardiff Bay”, and “All This Time”, as well as silently and unconsciously swaying back and forth to Martyn’s cover of “One Of Us”. The stage manager, who hadn’t seen Martyn play live before, said that they only sold out maybe 4 or 5 times a year. He said now he knows why this was one of them

Of course the evening wouldn’t be complete without a “Pipe-ism” from Martyn ( sorry buddy ) to wrap things up. Unfortunately, the audience was not lucky enough to be able to enjoy this one, as it occurred while driving back to Cardiff after the gig. We had stopped at Reading services for a coffee and some fuel, and Nige and I had just returned to the Motorway, with Martyn and Gaynor not far behind. A minute or so later Nigel’s phone rang, and I could tell by his reaction that he was listening to a rather interesting conversation. Apparently Martyn was quite emphatically stating that just after re-entering the Motorway, he had seen ( are you ready for this? ) a man…ahem…uh…a man in….oh boy….ok, here goes……..a man in a long green robe, with a wooden staff and a long grey beard, standing on the side of the road! Seriously

Unfortunately Gaynor could not back up his claim, and as neither Nige or I saw this “fellow”, Martyn proceeded to receive repeated crank calls to his mobile stating that “Mike and I didn’t believe you at first, but the guy you described just passed us in the outside lane on roller skates!”, or ” …hey Martyn, did your buddy have 12 other guys standing with him too??”. Perhaps Martyn could write a song about his experience….perhaps “Don’t Fear The Druid” or “2-4-6-8- Druid on Skates”????

Well, I’m sure the Pipe hasn’t heard the last of this ( unfortunately for him ). I would have thought that after the first couple weeks of the tour he would have know by now that if you see a man in a green robe, with a staff and a long grey beard standing by Reading services – don’t mention it to anyone else!

Take Care All – Mac

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