THERE was much hype surrounding The Lake Poets’ debut single launch – a gig which sold-out in a fortnight.
That’s no mean feat for a relatively-new act who only played his first gig 18 months ago at Sunderland’s Independent.
But, the Lake Poets is no ordinary act.
First off, there’s the line-up, which can confuse. To clarify, The Lake Poets is both a solo act and a band. At the heart of the act is singer songwriter Martin Longstaff, 23, from East Herrington.
Many of the songs see him, clad in his trademark black, alone in the spotlight, as he sings and strums his guitar about the intricacies of life – working in the shipyards, losing your grandparents, a fight in a bar or simply the world that passes you by as you sit at your windowsill.
However, sometimes his tracks require more of a bang and fellow musicians join him on stage.
Then, there’s the music – eye-wateringly beautiful anthems infused with a proud North East spirit – which make The Lake Poets stand out from the crowd.
Martin’s tracks have a canny knack of reaching into your soul and grabbing your heartstrings – packing a punch both emotionally and musically.
He’s a shy lad who seemed humbled by the rapturous applause which followed each of his achingly-uplifting songs, but he genuinely deserves all the accolades that fall at his feet.
Doing this job, I see a lot of music acts – some good, some bad and some ugly – but The Lake Poets had me enthralled and, despite the fact I’m a self-confessed ice queen, at times a little teary.
In his soft Sunderland lilt, Martin’s music is both a celebration and a lament of his home town, a place which he adores, but also wishes could be a little better than it is.
It’s fitting, therefore, that, despite, a raft of hauntingly-beautiful songs under his belt, his debut single release should be City by the Sea.
It’s an uplifting, folksy ditty which Martin performs alongside his band, an ode to his roots and being raised on the tide.
Kudos must go to The Lake Poets’ harmonica player Steven Calder who shines on the track, giving it a cool country-esque edge.
I was blown away by The Lake Poets which to date is my top gig of the year. I think someone would be hard pushed to tip them off that pedestal.