Marcus Malone at the Warrington RnB Club

Marcus Malone at the Warrington RnB Club, 30 March 2007

It was particularly fitting that the tenth anniversary of the Warrington RnB Club should be marked by the appearance of one of its favourite sons. The showman from Detroit has graced the club’s stage and related festivals to great acclaim and his return on this auspicious occasion was warmly welcomed. It is also very much to the credit of Ray and Barbara O’Hare that they have hosted ten years of live blues music at their excellent venue.

As ever, Marcus Malone was accompanied by a high quality band, comprising on this occasion Stuart Dixon on lead guitar and Chris Nugent and Italian Marco Abbatecola on drums and bass guitar respectively. The show opened in leisurely style with the slow ballad, “Be Still, My Beating Heart”, before the tempo was raised with a series of foot-tapping rockers. The humorous “Double D” then lightened the mood, accompanied by appropriate hand movements to reinforce the already graphic lyrics. The first set was concluded with the funky “Supernatural” and the well-loved “Blue Jeans”.

A superb version of “Messin’ With The Kid” set the second set in motion, followed by another rocker, “Candy Baby”, on which Marcus Malone showed his prowess on lead guitar. Stuart Dixon then immediately re-established his claim to that role with a blistering solo on another upbeat number. A terrific performance of “I Just Want To Make Love To You” demonstrated the full range of the main man’s incredible vocal ability, combining velvet-smooth tones with just the right amount of occasional hard edge. His supreme versatility enables him to glide through ballads and blast out bluesy rockers with equal aplomb.

One of the highlights of the evening was a fine version of the fabulous ballad, “One More Time”, with Stuart Dixon again excelling on lead guitar. “Running” and the wonderful, fast shuffle “Blue Radio” completed the programme, as the dance floor groaned through intensive occupation. It was a great night’s entertainment, which did the celebration of the club’s first decade proud. Long may it and Marcus Malone continue to thrive.

Lionel Ross

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