So it’s one of those typical Manchester Autumn nights, dank, wet and windy: heading into town, hunched Loweryesqe, into a venue called The Deaf Institute (I know, weird name for a venue) to cast my peepers on South Caroliners finest The Marcus King Band. My expectations are medium to high and get higher when i see the authentic equipment on stage Fender Rhodes, Hammonds, valve amps no pedals ooooohhhh my brain whispers “tone” quietly in my ear.
The six piece band eventually take the stage to a relatively sparse room and begin. Crikey these boys can play, defying any forebodings I may have had at there youthfulness (Marcus himself being 22 ish).
Standing in a room of a mixer of hipsters and blues dads this band take me directly (not pass go) to 1973 southern rock Muscle-Scholes era rock/soul/funk/country with an exceptional swagger of confidence, tenor sax, whaling keys and a guitar tone to make the afore mentioned blues dads throw away their Viagra and don’t even get me on Marcus’s voice which is incredible, sounding like he was suckled on liquid sand paper spiked with Otis Reading’s sweat (Yet I fear in Marcus world this takes second fiddle to his commitment to guitar gymnastics).
So imagine my surprise when after a few tracks of what I can only describe as “fucking ace shit” my brain started to wonder, as in I mean what’s for tea tomorrow, or is Paul, my compadre, gunna get a drink in? Now the only reason for this I can think is the fact that I began to be confused as to what the band where trying to deliver, although they did every song, note, solo, with soul, authenticity and incredible virtuosity right across the board, one minute they were King Crimson, the next they were Bill Whithers and then Zappa all mixed in with Skynard, BB.King and to name but a few sounds good eh?
Well yes and no, rather like one of those burgers you get on the strip in Vegas with every possible ingredient, it becomes bloated, too rich, seeping its juices unnecessarily, in fact it just tries that little too hard, my gut instinct is these guys could easily become massive but only when they realize that they don’t have to prove anything to anybody especially themselves and I suppose that comes from experience and dare I say age...
If you like great musicians, retrospective tones, kick ass intent, then keep a beady eye in their direction, trust me you will not regret it’s like a bourbon they will come into their own, in their own sweet time.