Tonight, outside The Fleece, Bristol the queue was happily full of anticipation that tonight we would once again be wowed by live music. Why? The Marcus King Band is in town and they deliver music that may defy definition BUT will always entertain and excite.
Before the main event, the crowded venue was treated to a display of the power of vocals accompanied by guitar. Beth Rowley was superb as she underlined the lyrics with a sharp punctuation mark of her harmonica. Her guitarist Tom was superb his accompaniment was sensitive when needed and grinding out the power chords when required. A duo that combines their talents and delivers with soulful sensitivity the music they both love and understand. The long awaited album Gota Fría has been receiving rave reviews with the power of the songs and melodies as blues, Americana fused with rock. The songs are strong with Beth co-writing with Ron Sexsmith, Marcus Bonfanti and Ben Castle. Will the music transport to the live stage tonight. Yes, they do what a fabulous opening set. Her voice caresses the lyrics and makes the song full of soulfulness and intimacy. The only shame was the constant chatting and noise from the crowd, how disrespectful you will never know what you missed the songs had a message that touches deep into your soul. Her song Brother about her sibling written with Ron Sexsmith was a wonderful song of a relationship rarely explored by songwriters. Brave Face; a song that reflects that feeling you have when in a relationship you know stuff has to be talked about and you put on a brave face to talk unsure what the outcome would be a stronger partnership or a broken one. Beth Rowley is back a class act with songs that say something to those who take time out to listen.
Short break, time to catch up with friends talk music and anticipate the treat ahead. Tonight, the first night of the tour the Marcus King Band hit the stage running opening with What’s Right from Due North E.P. I know what right music is when it is delivered by a band that is full of self-confidence, playing the music with passion for each other and the audience. Marcus King and the band are young but the talent is immense the output is music that is funky sexy and has the free flow of a jam band when played live you are never sure where they are taking to you. The setlist was high-energy varied with the mix of sounds and texture full of interest and the interplay between the musicians was fresh and natural. The music crosses genres creating an infectious sound that connects to your inner dancing DNA no-one stood still tonight at the Fleece tonight the music was hot and the reaction was even warmer. Marcus King up front whether playing his cream Telecaster or red Gibson 355 his solos were scintillating threading through the chords, licks and riffs. This is a band that has layers, and layers of sound they are to your ears what a complex wine is to your taste buds every note gives you something else to latch onto. The keyboardist DeShawn ‘D-Vibes’ Alexander, was stupendous he is playing was mesmerising as he mixed up Hammond, Korg and Electric piano combined with a sonic producing box of tricks. His keys were wicked throughout the set.
The set was a mix of tracks from their latest album Carolina Confessions, these songs grow on stage as they are stretched and re-formed when played live. There was no hard sell tonight was about the music engaging with the audience and ensuring the music was what we wanted to hear tonight. The band pulled numbers from their self-titled album and Soul Insight interspersed with live medleys including a delicious Slo Blues number. The music was creative with the horn section adding the brassy energy of flute heard on Rita Is Gone and the wonderful tenor Saxophone from Dean and then we had trumpet that seared through the melodic backdrop from Justin combined with his backing vocals and tambourine watching him was a show itself. The Rhythm section was a combination of strong drumming and cymbal work that sharpened up the beat on every number as the sticks were applied with pure concentration by Jack. The bass lines were fast and slow cool and deep under the skilful playing of his four strings by Stephen. Tonight they played two hours of creative music that will always be welcomed. If you haven’t seen them do not miss the tour, they are a phenomenon and the music will grow as the band continues to mature. The band continues to take us the audience on the wonderful musical journey Gov’t Mule and Tedeschi Trucks have taken on. This is a continuum that will grow and continue to reshape the music they love playing live and in the studio. Long may Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks keep mentoring this rising star whose light in the musical firmament will only get brighter.
The set was sensational from the first chord to the last note. Everyone left pumped with energy powered by funk, blues and so much more. What a start to the band’s 2018 U.K. tour
OCTOBER TOUR DATES
Thurs 25th – The Fleece, Bristol
Fri 26th – Islington Assembly Hall, London
Sat 27th – Night & Day Café, Manchester
Sun 28th – Stereo, Glasgow
The Marcus King Band
Marcus King: Vocals, Guitar
DeShawn ‘D-Vibes’ Alexander: Keys
Jack Ryan: Drums
Stephen Campbell: Bass
Justin Johnson: Trumpet, Trombone
Dean Mitchell: Saxophone, Flute
Set List – Bristol
What’s Right (Due North EP)
Booty Stank (Soul Insight 2014)
Ain’t Nothin Wrong
Where I’m Headed
Fraudulent Waffle (Soul Insight 2014)
Autumn Rains(Carolina Confessions)
Self Hatred (Marcus King Band)
Woman’s Got To Have It Bobby Womack cover
How Long(Carolina Confessions)
Always > He Bite Me
Rita Is Gone (Marcus King Band 2016 )
Goodbye Carolina (Carolina Confessions)
Welcome Round Here (Carolina Confessions)
Plant Your Corn Early (Marcus King Band)