It’s rare for a Scouse musician to take the right things from Love. All you need is (Arthur Lee’s) Love is usually the maxim for guitar bands in this town.

But, for ex-Stands’ drummer and current occupant of Paul Weller’s pig-skins, Steve Pilgrim, the songwriter has taken the trumpet and acoustic urgency from the West Coast group’s sound and come up with something all of his own.

There’s pop, like the delicious ‘Keep Falling Down’, big sea shanty-esque tunes in ‘How Many Ways’ and delicate finger picking and melody from the gorgeous set opener at his gig at The Zanzibar, ‘Owl On Roof’.

Pilgrim is that rare breed of modern Scouse musician too – a performer. There’s original thought, great musicianship and a willingness to let the people know that he enjoys what he’s doing and wants you to, too. You never feel like your intruding on a rehearsal… and that’s what lifts this gig above the usual fare.

Maybe it’s the experience of playing with Weller night after night, but Pilgrim has learned that if you open up and let people in, they’ll come. A great voice helps too.

As do good songs… and that’s the perfect description for Pilgrim. His band – made up of Scouse wonders like Rachael Wright (Harmony vocals), Ryan Wyatt (Bass) and Martin Smith on joyous trumpet – play with a freedom that belies their ad-hoc arrangement and drive the tunes to the places that they need to go.

Pilgrim stars solo too, with the gorgeous ‘Driving All Those Fears Away’ stealing song of the night honours, but it’s with the urgent energy of the band that he truly shines.

What does he sound like? Good. A touch of Stephen Fretwell in the vocals, perhaps the more vital moments of David Gray and there’s a Celtic lilt of, say, Paddy Casey as well. But, for the most part, this is an artist arriving at the sound of himself.

And, as a packed Zanzibar club found out last night, it’s a great place for Steve Pilgrim to be.

Steve Pilgrim’s ‘Pixels And Paper’ is available now from

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