MICKLETON R&B CLUB
COUNTY DURHAM, UK
On Saturday night Mickleton R & B club hosted its fourth gig and proved once again that there is a demand for quality live music in our village halls. Testament to the club’s sustained popularity was the fact that there was a hefty queue outside the doors before 8.00 pm despite absolutely torrential rain, with audience members from the dale but also from much further afield braving the elements in order to claim a seat for the night and get to the bar!
Marcus Malone hails from Detroit, although he now lives and works mainly in the UK and Europe. On his website (www.marcusmalone.com) he writes of his upcoming gig at Mickleton “Been informed it’s all sold out in Mickleton….and the natives are restless. As usual me and the boys plan to give them more than they anticipated”. “The boys” were the Marcus Malone Band: Brad Waissman on bass, Stuart Dixon on guitar, Moz Gamble on keyboard and Chris Nugent on drums. They exploded onto the stage just after 9.00 pm, and were greeted enthusiastically by the “restless natives” who were on their feet and dancing well before the end of the first set.
Marcus Malone is a consummate performer and with his engaging and charismatic smile he reaches out to his audience and manages to include them all in his evident enthusiasm for his art. He writes all his own songs, and we were treated to the full range of his talent with upbeat numbers like “Funk Groove” which began the first set and the strong “Heart for Rent” which filled the space with its electric pulse and energetic rhythm, as well as more melodic ballads such as “One More Time” and the memorable “Walk Away” in which Marcus and the band took their audience on an electrifying journey of sound. This was sophisticated stuff; the band were powerfully tight and yet were given full rein to express themselves, with particularly memorable performances from young Stuart Dixon sliding mesmerically on guitar and a cheeky Moz Gamble dancing around his keyboard whilst hammering out the music.
By the time the band returned for the second set the hall was buzzing, and Marcus and the boys were greeted with shouts, whistles and storming applause. The energy continued to grow as the night wore on, and by the end, with the dance floor packed and many on their feet at the back of the hall, we were reluctant to let him go. He had certainly given us more than we had anticipated; this was one of the best Mickleton R & B nights yet and we hope there are many more to come.