Caesar may have conquered Winchester, but that was before its One Way system was introduced! The rewards, for those who managed to find their way to the The Arc, last night were considerable.

The performance space is state of the art and the perfect platform for the opening night of the ’10 Steps’ tour by the extraordinary Dan Whitehouse and Max ZT.

The evening starts with ‘Perfect Circle’ inspired by the poetry of Katie Whitehouse accompanied delicately, precisely by Max on his self made dulcimer, (a forebear of the piano). It’s an incredible instrument capable, in the right hands of a kaleidoscope of sounds, the resulting atmosphere demands complete attention from an audience who are unlikely to have heard anything quite like it.

Dan’s arsenal of touring instruments has grown of late it now includes stage pianos and sample pads alongside his gorgeous Fender Mustang. The selection of tools at his disposal are carefully curated to provide exactly the textures and timbres he requires and alongside his sonorous ‘Bowiesque’ voice provide an incredibly rich landscape with which to write.

Perfect Circle is followed by ‘Bury One’s Head’ inspired by the desperate evacuation of Kabul airport. The insistent percussive pulse of the dulcimer setting the wheels of another mind bending and evocative composition in motion.

Max and Dan are both extraordinary talents who in ’10 Steps’ have crafted a masterpiece. Alongside the performance of the tracks off the album a song is included that was composed in the moment, started by Max and later joined by Dan, who inspired by the landscape and atmosphere set up by Max sits at the piano and writes, lyrics, chords and melody line in order to complete the song. Its quite something to witness and requires a huge degree of musicality and confidence to pull it off!

The tour continues tonight in Abingdon at Music at the Unicorn. Doors are at 7 for a 7:15 start. If you are able to I highly recommend you make it along, its an evening that will stay with you for quite some time.

All dates and tickets:

Fri 20 English Folk Expo (delegate only gig)
Sun 22 The Stables
Tues 24 PizzaExpress Live
Weds 25 Ropetackle Arts Centre – special guest Ben Paley
Thurs 26 The Old Stables, Cricklade – special guest Wrenne
Fri 27 Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
Sat 28 The Carole Nash Room, The Stoller Hall – special guest Sean Morrison