Saturday, November 29, 2014

Marcus Malone - The Caves, Edinburgh, 27 November

Let’s start by saying this – Marcus Malone and his band are as tight as the proverbial nut.  Between them Daryl Tingey on 5 string bass and the exuberant Chris Nugent on drums lay down a rock solid groove, but with a healthy measure of funk and pizzazz.  Meanwhile Malone delegates much of the lead guitar duties to the impressive Sean Nolan, although chipping in himself now and then and also sharing in some forays into Lizzy-ish guitar harmonies. 
The result is a set of rocked up R’n’B from the Detroit bluesman, focusing primarily on the latest album, Stand Or Fall, played from start to finish.  Opener 'Living The Blues' sets the pattern for some lock-step rhythm guitar, embellished by some guttural slide from Nolan.  'Slow Down' is cranked up to crunking levels compared to the album version, with Malone and Nolan trading lead licks, and similar intensity arrives with 'One Man Woman' and 'Under Pressure'.  Meanwhile 'Can’t Stop' rides in on a riff that nods heavily in the direction of fellow Detroiter Ted Nugent’s 'Cat Scratch Fever', of all things.  The playing underpins a soulful blues holler from Malone, showcased on the slow grind of 'Jealous Kind', and the love and regret of 'Gonna Take Time' – comparisons with Paul Rodgers aren’t fanciful.

They give it plenty again on set closer 'Christine', drawn from 2007’s Hurricane and featuring a riff worthy of Malcolm Young.  But if Malone and co play tough they swing too, and a series of encores also drawn from earlier albums continues the good time vibe.  They even find time for local kid Calum Ingram to get up and jam, playing – wait for it – a 5-string strap-on electric stick cello.  (It sounds like decidedly slinky slide guitar, by the way.)  The crowd show their appreciation by singing along to 'Find Me Somebody' before 'Going Back To Detroit' brings the night to a satisfying close.

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