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Mission Creep

Mission Creep

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Damian and his brilliant band played gig number nine of their UK Tour in Basingstoke at The Haymarket on Wednesday, November 1, 2023 in support of his debut album Mission Creep. We can’t be sure of the set list, but if it’s anything like the other shows on this UK Tour then Damian opened the show with his first single Down on the Bowery, followed by Zaragoza, Hole in My Roof, My Little One, Soho Tango and nine more songs, not including encore songs. He usually plays his new songs Pentonville Prison and Traffic Jam. For encore he usually plays a cover of After Midnight and his other new song She Makin’ Me Change. We’re notoriously bad at ­changing lanes in this country,” he says. “I’m fully aware of how dangerous it is for me, tiptoeing into another area of the arts. It’s a bit like standing up on top of the parapet going, ‘Right, take your shots, everyone; throw s--- at me!’ ” In 2017, he told the Guardian: “The cut and thrust of a successful school can be very bonding. I was always encouraged to be on teams at sport; I got a lot from that. Would I send my son to Eton? I might.” In the event, he didn’t. “It wasn’t the right thing for my son,” he says now. “We just decided what was best for him.”

Indeed, there’s a quiet sense of joy and release to much of the recordings. Laid down in his native North London, Damian Lewis feels uniquely at home; ‘Makin’ Plans’ has a mischievous quality, while something like ‘Soho Tango’ lives and breathes the illicit side of Central London after hours. The lyrics call for his lover to climb him “like a vine”, and hears him sing: “Start me laughing, stop me crying.”Lewis’s album may have been created partly as a balm to a troubled soul, but the songs only sound sad if you view them through his personal history. He says he prefers to leave the lyrics to each song “a ­little bit opaque” to “allow listeners to borrow from it in ways that relate to their own life and experience”. Damian and his brilliant band played gig number six of their UK Tour in Manchester at Band on the Wall on Saturday, September 30, 2023 in support of his debut album Mission Creep. Damian opened the show with his first single Down on the Bowery, followed by Zaragoza, Hole in My Roof, My Little One, Soho Tango and nine more songs, not including encore songs! He also played his new songs Pentonville Prison and Traffic Jam. For encore he played a cover of After Midnight and his other new song She Makin’ Me Change. Damian told the audience that the Manchester gig was the best he’s played and since we were boots on the ground, we agree! The energy in the room was amazing! We can’t be sure of the set list, but if it’s anything like the other shows on this UK Tour then Damian opened the show with his first single Down on the Bowery, followed by Zaragoza, Hole in My Roof, My Little One, Soho Tango and nine more songs, not including encore songs. He usually plays his new songs Pentonville Prison and Traffic Jam. For encore he usually plays a cover of After Midnight and his other new song She Makin’ Me Change. His biggest headline show to date will be at Union Chapel in London on July 11, with more live dates expected to be announced soon, after he spoke about having conversations with Glastonbury festival.

I wanted the album to give a sense of a journey to this point, from busking ‘’til now.” – Damian Lewis Speaking about ‘She Comes’ Lewis explains “'She Comes' is the first song I wrote for my debut album, so that makes it ... my first song (That I've shared with the world, at any rate….). It’s about ghosts, and one ghost in particular. The album has hybrid sounds all through it but this song leans heavily on a folk set up before crescending with a jazz feel brought by my brilliant band”. His love of music started when he left school, after studying at Eton, and went busking through Europe, where he says he could earn up to “20 to 30 quid an hour”. In reference to the video, he adds “"We hoped to convey the feeling of an abandoned house, of the ghost of the woman that once lived there and a group of friends gathering to celebrate her” His songwriting is poetic, poignant and deeply personal. The album, recorded just down the road in Kentish Town, has a raw and refreshing honesty to it.Damian and his brilliant band played gig number ten of their UK Tour to a sold out show in Wavendon, Milton Keynes at The Stables in the Jim Marshall Auditorium on Monday, November 6, 2023 in support of his debut album Mission Creep. The Stables venue was founded by jazz royalty Sir John Dankworth and Dame Cleo Laine, which Damian thought was a brilliant legacy to have for the show. Fans were keen to share that they spotted Damian’s partner Alison Mosshart in the audience, front row. We are talking in a plush recording studio near King’s Cross ­station. Record company assistants flit discreetly about, and a photographer waits to shoot Lewis’s ­portrait. He looks lean and sculpted, in tight jeans, T-shirt, and the kind of ­patterned cardigan that only a man supremely confident in his own style could carry off. He has a piercing gaze and impeccable manners: softly spoken and drily amusing, he also has a fine line in self-­deprecation. I suspect that, beneath the surface, he is conflicted about giving this interview. He has poured a lot into making his album, and wants to do his duty by promoting it, but there are some things he would rather not talk about. I tell him how much I like A Spy Among Friends. We talk about how the top British private schools proved such a fertile recruiting ground for not only spies but double agents – of the Cambridge spy ring, Philby went to Westminster, Anthony Blunt to Marlborough, Donald Maclean to Gresham’s and Guy Burgess to Eton. Was Lewis ever approached to be a spook? “No,” he says. Were any of his contemporaries at Eton spies? “Rory Stewart?” Has Stewart ever admitted to it? “No, I’m only guessing.” (Stewart has always denied being a spy, but says that if he had been, he would not be able to confirm it.) The drama programme at Eton was brilliant. So if you had the talent or inclination, you could do drama 24/7 if you wanted to



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