Little Steven and the Disciples. 11.16.17. o2 Academy Newcastle.

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For obvious reasons, and very unfairly, the Disciples are unenviously in competition with the E-Streeters before a single note, or a ‘1, 2, 3’, is heard.    Presumably aware of this, the band start both focused and full of intensity, ploughing straight into a 25 song set with 3 of their most solid, straight out rock n rollers(‘Even the losers’, ‘Soulfire’ and, ‘I’m coming back’). It’s an entrance which is Impactful, energetic and edgy, whilst full of a ‘Jersey shore’ sound (rock meets soul sprinkled with heavy doses of horn) and traditional rock themes of life, love and redemption.  

Comparisons with The Boss are obvious, and ultimately necessary given the bands sound (circa ‘The Rising’) and Stevie’s leadership style in it’s similarity to the challenge and support he places on the band to set and maintain a high performance.  Though not as powerful as his mentor (who could be!?)  the decades of studying his role model are evident and impressive.

Personal favourites ‘The blues is my business’ and  ‘The city weeps tonight’ are both driven by deep, blues-heavy, riffs, which allow Stevie to display the type of guitar skills often camaflarged in the larger group dynamic of his day job.

Across the evening Little S’s deep love of world music becomes evident both in the songs themselves which, though compositionally different,share common stylistic DNA references; most noteably their heavy percussion and continual lyrical themes of remaining positive and not being afraid to speak your own voice.

There’s a slight dip when the band move out of rock/soul and into wider world music sounds, pushing little steven’s statement of world music a little bit too far into often uncharted, and too lengthy, waters. 
The intensity kicks back in with a strong finish to the evening. ‘Forever’ is powerfully driven and final two tracks – a cover of local lads The Animals ‘We gotta get out of this place’ and ‘Out of darkness’ both perfectly summarise the intense and positive message which has underpinned the evening. 

Ultimately the show does a fine job of showcasing Little Stevie’s impressive back catalogue and original work, particularly impressive given how easy it would have been to pursue a solo career that could have sounded E Street by numbers and chased for chart and commercial success.  Playing, as always, like his whole life depended on it Little Steven proves that some things should be pushed as far as they can.