Nordic Music Central Viking Hero

Mansfield (Denmark) – live at The Spinning Top, Stockport, on 27th May

There’s a sign on the wall at the Spinning Top bar/venue recognising the Cavern Club in Liverpool for its contribution to music and, indeed, Mansfield have played there in Mathew Street, several times.

I mention it in passing because if you just happened to be at a loose end in Stockport on a rainy (what’s new?) Bank Holiday Monday or you’d just got off the train from London at the station around the corner and fancied a quick pint you’d have been forgiven for thinking you were in the Cavern, circa 1965, if you breezed in during Mansfield’s set.

They are mainly from Copenhagen not Nottinghamshire but singer and guitarist Christian Stage spent some time in the northwest and possibly Mansfield too, which is perhaps how they got the name (I’ve never asked).

I’ve reviewed their singles on several occasions and always marveled at how they are able to combine a deep understanding of the Merseybeat and 1990s Brit Pop Manchester (not ‘Madchester’ which came earlier) era to the extent that they ‘do’ them better than any contemporary bands that I know of, and while making sure their own individual flavouring doesn’t go unnoticed either.

Seeing them live for the first time, in a small venue and watched by a crowd that instantly took to them, it was that 60s Mersey sound which predominated.

They were a man light tonight, the lead guitarist, Mathias Havelund, who also contributes vocals, having had to return home at short notice, but that made little difference, the vocalist, guitarist and chief songwriter Christian Stage making light work of the burden of combining lead and rhythm guitar roles.

Backing him is a rhythm section second to none, namely Mathias Wedeken (bass) and Filip Gulløv (drums). The former works his fingers up and down the fret board faster than a casino card dealer, his contribution most notable in ‘Come along’ and in the closer ‘Dreams of Desire’ in which his guitar could have been a pneumatic drill.

The latter, meanwhile, resplendent in a very 60s white shirt and tie, was the epitome of unhurried Ringo cool and precision. Indeed his playing style is so Starr-oriented that if you closed your eyes you could easily believe it’s him.

Peace and love, man.

And boy, are they tight.

The set included songs from both of their albums, 2020’s ‘Star-crossed lovers’ and the most recent one, ‘For all the right reasons’, which has been released only in the last 10 days or so.

Highlight of the set for me was the classic 60s ‘Chasing after you’ which practically reinvented that era on the night but as we’ve previously covered it as a single I’ve selected as the sample track, which was played on the evening, ‘The sky’s in love with you.’

I’ve been a bit disappointed with a few gigs I’ve seen this year, featuring some big names, but Mansfield were born not to disappoint. Theirs is such a relaxed, professional delivery that no matter what your problems are, for an hour or so you are transported back to better times decades ago and they simply cease to exist.

With no disrespect to the venue, which I took a shine to, Mansfield need bigger ones and greater exposure. Hopefully they’ll be back before long and playing them.

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