Categories Album Mission Creep Music Review UK Tour 2024

A Rocking Good Night With Damian Lewis

Damian Cracks At It

by Jacquee Storozynski-Toll | Southend Theatre Scene | March 12, 2024

Who knew that Damian Lewis could sing? The actor best known for his work on Wolf Hall and Homeland amongst others can really rock it with the best of them. He also plays a mean acoustic guitar. Apparently, before he was famous he busked around Europe with a rucksack and a tent, so has had plenty of experience. This time he is on the second part of a tour to advertise his debut album Mission Creep.

However, before he arrived Amelie, a young singer songwriter, treated us to a set. She demonstrated her talents singing, playing the guitar and keyboards. One song The Night We Called it a Day was co-written with Guy Chambers who co-wrote many Robbie Williams songs. She announced that she would be having an EP album out later in the year.

Good as she was, it was Damian that the audience had come to see. He zoomed on to the stage, looking very different to his slick screen image, dancing around the stage in jeans and a waistcoat, clutching his guitar and being every inch a rocker. He then launched into a soulful rendition of the first song on the album Down on the Bowery, following this with a bluesy number Soho Tango.

Backed by a four-piece band and accompanied by Amelie, he went through most of the songs on the album. They covered various genres. Some were Rockabilly, some jazzy and bluesy and we were even treated to a Chuck Berry duck walk. As one song ended, another started his voice adapting to smooth ballads, growly rocks, and high-pitched blues, to cover every style that his skills as an actor could bring to the song. Wanna Grow Old In Paris, had a haunting quality, My Little One with the bluesy harmonica, was in the style of Dr. Feelgood, then there was the beautiful She Comes. This was apparently written as a tribute to his late wife Helen McCrory, but he just called it a song about a ghost.

He occasionally interacted with the audience with a few jokey remarks, but as the songs were new to most people and mainly autobiographical, it would have helped if he had explained a little about them and included some anecdotes. Some of the songs were covers but most of the album is original material written by Lewis paying tribute to his influences such as JJ Cale, Dr. John, Jelly Roll Morton and Neil Young. Neil Young’s Harvest Moon, Damian announced that it was the best song ever written as he then sang a soulful version. Some songs were romantic and some had jokey lyrics such as Never Judge a Man by his Umbrella.

He also included some songs in the set that are not on the album, such as Love Bomb, a funky blues number a new song Grey at the Temple, and one was even about a vampire.

Many actors have a yen to perform with bands and to a greater or lesser degree have not had much success, Bruce Willis and Russell Crowe come to mind. However, Damian has actually cracked it. His set was nearly two hours long and he returned for an encore of three songs. The audience joined in at his request waving their arms in time with the music and clapping along, and as his performance ended, the audience left the theatre smiling.

Read the rest of the original article at Southend Theatre Scene