Willy Mason – The Goods Shed, Stroud – Live Review

The Goods Shed in Stroud is a Grade II listed building tucked away nicely at the back of the car park at Stroud Train Station. From the Stroud Preservation TrustThe Goods Shed was built in 1845 to a standard design by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and is now the only survivor of this type. It is a distinctive example of industrial architecture in Brunel’s Tudor Gothic revival style with fine buttresses, stonework and arches…”

Inside, it is much like the well loved dive clubs I would attend in my twenties, this place has that old familiar, homely feel and attracts a friendly, artsy, music loving crowd. Dark and mostly standing room only, a few old couches and chairs are scattered along the sides of the venue for the few whom wish to sit.

As Willy Mason has been around for a fair amount of years now, I feel privileged to have him play in my hometown and the range of ages within the audience proves his array of talent and timeless music. This show felt like one of those special moments that are so rare and it felt almost like a secret gig.

Support came from the lovely Sophie Jamieson. Flawlessly stunning vocals throughout her set, Sophie was the perfect opener. Creating a chilled environment so you could truly listen to every word she sang, Sophie and her guitars acoustics blended beautifully within the Grade II Listed buildings Stonework. A song called Sink stood out with Sophie’s emotive vocals powerfully shining through. She reminded me of Aimee Mann at times (not vocally) but sonically.

Urging the somewhat relaxed crowd to gather to the front of the stage rather than hovering towards the back, the audience did as she asked and gave her a more welcomed feel for the rest of her set.

Sophie was wonderful, an artist I will certainly be checking out more.

The crowd became much larger of course but not too crowded for Willy Mason and his band as they took to the stage.

Loud and effective right from the start, the audience were really engaged and the venue was alive.

Mason is not a new artist to me but I don’t know his music well so this was a new experience for me completely and not knowing what songs to expect made it a little bit more exciting.

Hardly anyone was talking during the entire show. It shows how much they were enjoying the music. That is a rarity these days, especially near the bar which again, was relatively quiet in terms of speaking. It’s been a long time since I have been to a standing only event and people didn’t talk all the way through at the back.

Mason played a generous set of songs. He doesn’t talk too much to the audience but then he doesn’t need to. His music tells enough stories and with such a long list of great songs, the more that can be fit into the setlist, the better.

His recordings don’t do him justice vocally as live, he really is something else, truly sensational!

Songs such as Reservation were energetic, electric and really bounced off the venue walls. A reggae edge was met with a country tone for Talk Me Down.

Riptide was clearly popular and So Long got a lot of people dancing with its more rockier sound. A big applause erupted for Already Dead. Restless Fugitive was mesmerising and quite trippy live. It worked perfectly in the venue lighting and setting, it was certainly a highlight of the set list.

The entire setlist was thoroughly enjoyable. Other songs played included Shadows In The Dark, One of the Good Ones (which was really great live), Oh My Country, Pick Up Truck (which is wonderfully catchy), Outwit The Devil, Our Town, Where the Humans Eat (possibly played). I Got Gold had a strong country sound which of course I loved and was actually popular throughout the audience as everyone was having a great time during that song.

Mason closed the set with Oxygen. Everyone sang along and the song was met with rapturous applause and cheers.

The show had a great sound from the band and vocals throughout and the venue played a big part in that. It is a great venue for full band or acoustics

Willy Mason and his band were an absolute delight to see live and the atmosphere from the audience showed that I was not alone in these thoughts. Energetic yet calm, it was a special night to hear a truly great songwriter share his tremendous work in a fantastic live setting.

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