Steve Mason, supported by Sunderland’s own Barry Hyde, drew tears and laughter from a packed Riverside.
Barry Hyde began behind his Roland V-Piano, working through a set and album’s worth of material that focused on one man’s struggle with manic bi-polar disorder. His simple, sincere and direct lyrics manage to avoid all of the clichés that have unfortunately adorned most attempts to interact with mental health issues. A virtuoso piano player, Barry Hyde carried the audience with him through the origin, mania and catharsis of his own experience. Wrists and fists pounding away at the keys mixed with beautiful, but thoughtfully uncomfortable runs and discordant chord sequences.
Ex-Beta Band main man Steve Mason and his three piece band have garnered considerable praise for their Meet The Humans album, released earlier this year. Mason, who has publicly acknowledged his own difficulties with mental health issues, worked through an emotionally driven set which was at times is simplistic, acoustic driven folk and at others an enveloping soundscape. With an authentic charm and a soft Scottish tone, his use of lyrics that provoke, but also provide an intimate insight into his life, topped off a captivating evening.