Review by Andy Houghton for MPM
Steve Steinman released his debut rock album, ‘Take A Leap Of Faith’, to massive acclaim last month, with rave reviews and the release climbing to No.1 in the iTunes and Amazon rock album charts.
Well known for his long-running and hugely popular classic rock musicals Vampires Rock and Anything For Love, the new album now sees Steve making a success of recording his own music.
Anticipation was therefore running high for the official album launch event, which was held on 2 September at the Whittles live music venue in Oldham, part of the legendary Tokyo Project (known locally as “Tokes”), which has hosted performers from Inspiral Carpets to Jason Donovan. Whittles is one of my favourite venues – as well as having a long history, it’s got a great ambience which seems to bring out the best in performers.
The atmosphere was electric in the build-up to the gig, with a capacity crowd who were eager for an evening of great entertainment after the restrictions of the last eighteen months. After a rousing warm up from the support act, The Harper Brothers, Steve took to the stage with his live band to a huge welcome.
The set kicked off with the album’s title track ‘Take A Leap Of Faith’. A classic of piece of high-octane hard rock with soaring riffs and catchy hooks, the song made for an attention-grabbing introduction and took the audience by storm. Steve not only has a powerfully compelling voice that’s tailor-made for the material, but also has a charismatic stage presence, honed over years of experience fronting his live theatre shows. His band members are also clearly having a great time, and their tremendous enthusiasm transfers to the audience and lifts the atmosphere to another level.
Next up was ‘Survive’, with its anthemic chorus, followed by ‘Going To Hell’ and then the potent and punchy ‘Fight’. After all these explosive tracks it was time for a change in tempo with the slower-paced ‘I Don’t Know About Love’, which weaves a story of poignancy and redemption. It’s a great track, showcasing not only Steve’s vocal range but also his storytelling skills, and included an excellent saxophone solo from Johnny Sax (John Wolfenden). ‘Never Leave A Lover’ followed, with its great riffs, and then the ballad ‘Northern Star’ completed the songs from the debut album.
However, Steve had a surprise in store with the premiere of his latest track, ‘Everything They Said’. Penned by the legendary rock icon and music composer John Parr, known the world over for his Grammy-nominated hit song ‘St Elmo’s Fire’ and his duet with Meat Loaf on the US hit track ‘Rock n Roll Mercenaries’, the track was originally penned for Meat Loaf back in 1982, but was never recorded. John Parr offered the track to Steve after hearing his recent work. It’s a stunning track, drawing a rapturous response from the audience, and it looks likely to form the centrepiece of Steve’s next album, due for release in 2022.
With the applause still ringing in everyone’s ears, Steve brought the show to a close with a trio of Meat Loaf covers: ‘All Revved Up’, ‘Anything For Love’ and ‘Bat Out Of Hell’. He was joined by Emily Clark for the duet in ‘Anything For Love’, whose stunning voice was a perfect fit for this iconic song.
It was a stunning gig, and it was no surprise that Steve and the band were rewarded with a standing ovation. Recording his own material has already proved a massive success, and it can only be a matter of time before his work draws interest from a major label. We already have album number two to look forward to in 2022, and in the meantime his debut album is available via all the usual download and streaming providers.
Photography by Andy Houghton for MPM