It’s not often you get to witness an artist’s first ever gig. Tucked away at the top of the Lock Tavern, the very moment musician Joe Steer, aka Broadcast 2000, begins his beguiling acoustic set, if you close your eyes you are transported into a vast open space in summertime.
It could be Steer’s Devon childhood that gives such a lush rural feel to his folk acoustic songs, which are reminiscent of the rich arrangements of Sufjan Stevens, Beirut and even early Paul Simon.
Last month the classically trained multi-instrumentalist was signed by German/British Gronland Records who have released albums by Emily Haines and Psapp. On his debut mini album Building Blocks (created and recorded in his north London flat), cello, double bass, guitar, ukulele, glockenspiel and banjo to create a unique sound. But tonight it’s just Steer on his guitar, with two friends backing him up on minimal percussion and glockenspiel.
The sound may not be as full as the record – “Don’t Weigh Me Down”, his first single out later this month, could benefit from backing vocals and fuller instrumentation – but Steer more than makes up for this with his tenor vocals which call to mind Chris Martin. “Run” envelopes you in its repetitive beautiful melody, with Steer’s intricate guitar picking a delight; as are his cheerful soaring vocals in “Get Up and Go”. This is the start of something special.