WORDS AND IMAGES BY BILLY SEAGRAVE
Support tonight is American Southern Blues Rock bastion, Marcus King, and his band. This will be a prelude to his upcoming headline tour of his new album, “Young Blood” due for release in late August.
Marcus King and his band are first up tonight. Putting on a rather stunning Gibson Firebird, he wastes no time in unleashing a barrage of deep filthy blues, that takes us through the next 40 odd minute set. Opening the set with “Pain” and launching immediately into “Virginia / Hard to cry”, the crowd seem to be more than familiar with his work. This is high octane, one that a young audience seem to be lapping up to the max.
Musically as a band they are sensational, so tight so powerful, this is a real blues machine, King’s vocals are strong with a gritty delivery you expect from a seasoned frontman, “Beautiful stranger” and “Lie Lie Lie”, keep the crowd lifted, many of whom seem to have returned for this second evening. “The Well2” and Black Sabbaths “War Pigs” complete what has been a phenomenal set.
1/ No Pain
2/ Lie Lie Lie
3/ Wild Flowers and wine
4/ When a man loves a woman (Percy sledge)
5/ The Well
6/ War Pigs (Black Sabbath)
Entering the pit to cover the obligatory first three songs, my two colleagues and myself are approached by the pit manager, asking if we had a ticket for the show, unfortunately, only a photo pass was issued, usually that is sufficient for us to stay in the venue, as long as all equipment is packed away and secure, the pit team are exceptionally helpful on every occasion I have worked this venue, but rules are rules.
The tension is mounting as the band are roughly ten minutes over due, as a barrage of strobe lights emanates from the back of the stage and the music to “Stardust Cords”, begins to build, it seems like ages as Josh eventually walks on stage straight to the from arms aloft to a crowd so high on excitement, it was difficult not to begin to get carried away as well, I have a job to do, Both visually and musically the band have been given the label of a young Led Zeppelin, one that doesn’t sit with some, all I will say is, if a band can take influences and lets be honest who hasn’t had an influence from a their predecessors, secondly if you can play not only execute your own fire brand of music that connects a band to its followers, your in the right venue.
Most of this audience were not born when Zeppelin were at the height of their career, and if those followers then go out and learn about them then that’s all good, back to tonight, send up is “Safari Song”, that led to a fantastic drum solo played by Danny Wagner that went on for quite a while, an excellent introduction to “Black Smoke Rising”, the band are visual, a futuristic stage setting, like a scene from Flash Gordon, everything is carefully crafted, the bare feet the flamboyant clothes the lighting, all build the picture of a band that are going places, as I am led out of the pit and pack away my equipment, I take the slow root as I am trying to listen to “Carvel and Highway Tune”, before I end up outside on Stockport Road heading home for an early evening of tea and toast.
Who said music photography is easy?
To leave on a positive note, both support and our host this evening are leagues ahead of many bands of today, as and when, either of them return for a gig near you, get yourself down, you won’t be disappointed, live music of the highest quality.
1/ Built by Nations
2/ Black smoke rising
3/ Safari song
4/ Drum solo
6/ Heat above
7/ Light my love
8/ Broken bells
9/ The weight of dreams
10/ Age of man
11/ Highway tune
12/ My way soon
FOLLOW GRETA VAN FLEET
FOLLOW MARCUS KING