CALLING his imminent third album How The Mighty Fall is an open invitation to sneering, as the ever personable Mark Owen was first to admit.

Pop has its spirals: York support band Sixty6 were doing a brisk trade signing CDs and expectantly introducing new acoustic number Down Here amid record company interest.

Owen, now 31, has known the stadium life but the performer in him will win out wherever he plays and... "ooh, he's still good looking," as one fan of a Take That age reassured herself upon his arrival on the opening night of his bar-room tour.

"We want Mark" chants had warmed the air before his 9.50pm start, and mobile phone cameras held high recorded every move of his pretty head on that low, cramped stage.

Mark was enjoying himself, throwing wild shapes with his arms by song three, last year's jaunty single Makin' Out; graciously rebuffing requests for Take That oldies with a doe-eyed "No, we don't do that any many more times have I to tell you that?"; stripping down to his white T-shirt by Kill With Your Smile (an apt summation of his abiding appeal).

In the company of a staple pop-rock five-piece, Marc heartily sang his big-chorus hits (the likes of Alone Without You and his cherry, the set-closing Four Minute Warning), tried out some slightly histrionic keyboard-led mini-dramas not on a par with former compadr Robbie Williams and went searching for yet bigger choruses, failing to locate them in the flawed encores.

Updated: 11:16 Friday, March 25, 2005