He opened with Son Of A Gun. But, you knew that part already didn’t you?

And, yes, the majority of the 1000-strong crowd had decided that they were going to love this before a chord was hit. But… Lee Mavers pulled it off on Friday night.

For once, the myth Mavers has built up around himself was banished and Liverpool witnessed the wizard behind the curtain. It was no bad thing.

With the veil lifted, Mavers stood naked before his adoring acolytes and delivered a set of strong songs and great singing. They are the facts.

You want sensationalism or scurrilous rumour? Look elsewhere for the eight out of tens… we’re going to give it to you straight and true: when you have this many people singing along to every song and joining in with their voices, replacing parts missing in action without a band, something is going right.

And everything went right on this night.

Perhaps Mavers has found what he’s been looking for all along – as it seemed very clear to us, this is the way those fabled old set of songs was meant to be heard.

A rattling guitar, a voice at the very edge of its reason and melodies bouncing off the back walls. Forget the band – and we would say lose the comfort blanket of the bass, too – and go it alone Lee, it’s plain for all to see.

Looking Glass, There She Goes, Way Out and Doledrum sounded fresh and not dug up from twenty years of Mersey mud. The singing – at the risk of labouring the point – was from the very top drawer and filled with emotion, energy and belief.

The gig had a focus usually lacking at La’s affairs too, as we were all looking and listening to the same thing; the very things that actually matter: the songs.

Gripes? No brand new songs was a blow – and always will be if an artist wants to truly reflect from the mountain – and a little bit of interaction with the punters wouldn’t hurt, but they didn’t seem to mind.

There is a certain nobility in a songwriter delivering their songs stripped to the waist and holding everyone’s gaze. And it’s a nobility Lee Mavers acquired on Friday night.

Let’s just hope this is the beginning of a third act in this truly unique and Northern tale…

Alan O’Hare

Image by Dave Evans