Steve Mason may still be best known for his time with The Beta Band (and, in particular, for a certain scene in High Fidelity in which John Cusack’s character brags that he can sell five copies of the band’s The Three EPs record by playing “Dry the Rain”), but his career since has seen him branching out as a solo artist, first under the names King Biscuit Time and Black Affair before starting to release albums under his own name. Mason’s most recent, About the Light, came out earlier this year, and it’s some of his strongest work yet.
Mason opened the show with “Inner Meet Me” from The Beta Band’s 1998 EP The Patty Patty Sound. But this was hardly a nostalgia set. Backed by long-time collaborators bassist Steve Duffield and drummer Greg Nielson, he played a set consisting primarily of songs from About the Light and his previous 2016 release Meet the Humans.
It wasn’t until the encore that Mason looked far back again, first with “I Walk the Earth” from King Biscuit Time’s 2000 EP No Style and then, inevitably, with “Dry the Rain.” Mason noted that while he’s not into nostalgia, he doesn’t mind playing the song, but that he wouldn’t end his set with it because he preferred to end looking forward. With that, he closed out the night with “Like a Ripple” from his recently released Coup d’Etat EP.
Opening the evening was fellow Scotsman Johnny Lynch, who performs under the name The Pictish Trail and runs the Lost Map record label. Backed in a “micro-edition” of his band by Suse Bear of the group Tuff Love (who are also signed to Lost Map), he played a set of songs from both his most recent album, 2016’s Future Echoes, as well as several tracks from his upcoming release Thumb World, due out in February.
Steve Mason setlist
Inner Meet Me Planet Sizes Rocket America Is Your Boyfriend The Letter Alive! Hardly Go Through
About the Light Fox on the Rooftop Walking Away From Love