Lighthouse Family – Live Review – Halifax Victoria Theatre
By @Steve Crabtree, November 2019
From time to time, the Victoria Theatre in Halifax brings some great names from the music world to their stage. In recent times we’ve had James, The Stone Roses and Paul Weller to name a few. And now the winter nights have firmly bedded in, the warmth of the Lighthouse Family was next up to entertain the thousands of the town. And from the moment we took our seat at the front of the circle, we couldn’t wait for them to get started.
After the lights went down, and a lengthy intro, the band were on stage and were straight in to ‘My Salvation’ from 2019 album Blue Sky In Your Head. The title track followed, and it felt like the Lighthouse Family had picked up from the 90s and carried on from where they left off. And Halifax was about to be given a setlist which mixed in the classics and embraced the new stuff.
“Velvety-smooth and unique”
‘Lifted’ was a surprisingly early arriver in the show, but wow it was good. We were on our feet and predictably singing every word. Sometimes you don’t want a live version of a song to sound the same as it does on the record, but not here. With this style of live music you can really appreciate the quality of lyrics, the music, and the voice.
And there’s a velvety-smooth and unique vocal that comes with the Lighthouse Family. It’s unmistakable on a record, and it’s exactly the same live. There’s a great band behind the duo, but Tunde Baiyewu’s voice is one of the biggest instruments up there. He’s effortless with it too. It’s the identity of the Lighthouse Family, and he was in fine form for the entire sixteen songs tonight. You found yourself sitting there in admiration at times, and moving in your seat at others.
“Chilled, soulful and uplifting”
We were given many anecdotes throughout the night too. The story behind ‘Put My Heart On You’ was as lovely as the song itself. And there was some emotive stuff too from keyboard player Paul Tucker, with a heartfelt dedication to people who were no longer with us.
They said plenty between songs, and they seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as the sell-out Victoria Theatre was. In fact, they said this place was the most beautiful venue they’d played on the tour and with the traditional character of the theatre you knew why. And for us, it was a lovely Sunday evening, and a perfect way to end the weekend. This chilled, soulful and uplifting vibe coming out of the stage was something special.
Glancing round, there was a mixture of ages in the theatre. Mainly the 35-45 year old age bracket, but there were many people in their 20s, and a lot over 60 in the place. A diverse crowd for a style of music that appeals to everyone.
“On our feet”
The music wasn’t stopping, and we were on our feet again for new tune ‘Live Again’, and ‘Ocean Drive’ was another that the audience loved. I think it was the standout song of the evening. But the icing on top of this evening’s sumptuous cake was their final offering of the night. ‘High’ is that tune that comes to the front of most people’s minds when they think of the Lighthouse Family. And tonight’s performance was well worth the wait. It was another where the entire room were on their feet, moving and singing.
We got a two-song encore with ‘The Streetlights And The Rain’ and ‘I Wish I Could Know How It Feels’, and a rapturous reception from Halifax just emphasised how much we’d all enjoyed the show.
I’ve seen a few 90s bands over the last couple of years, and the best out of the bunch sound like wrote their songs back then for today. Perhaps they’re sounding even better today than they did first time around, and I’d put Lighthouse Family firmly in to that bracket.
They enjoyed the gig too. They said that they’ll be back in Halifax soon. If they stick to their word, make sure you’re in there early to grab a ticket.
Images: Amie Elson