LIVE: The Marcus King Band @ Cohoes Music Hall, 11/24/18
Review and photographs by Rudy Lu
Their updated version of southern rock entertained a sold-out, all-ages audience with a generous two-hour set.
King’s guitar was his primary voice, using all the vocabulary of his axe to express himself. This ranged from extensive use of the wah-wah pedal, screaming wailing sustains, power chords and extensive use of a slide. And He wasn’t a bad singer, either.
Although the music and playing were both fresh, there were certainly nods to the past. The Allman Brothers Band’s classic “Dreams” was covered and fellow South Carolina-rooted Marshall Tucker Band earned a nod with the encore of “Take the Highway.” Where it all started was given a tip o’ the hat with Buddy Guy’s “Five Long Years.” A cover of the nearly 50-year-old CSNY protest song “Ohio” was done to perfection, not as a note-for-note copy museum piece, but rather as a fresh interpretation, burning in intensity from the power drumming of Jack Ryan as well as King’s guitar work.
The band was always ready to jam, but they hung together tighter than a ball of rubber bands. All members of the band were given chances to duel with King or to soar off and solo. The horn section of Justin Johnson and Dean Mitchell was used tastefully to fill out the sound. Stephen Campbell’s bass playing was sometimes reminiscent of the late Berry Oakley, and his bass was used to introduce some numbers. D’Shawn Alexander commanded two banks of keyboards to add all kinds of textures to the music, while drummer Jack Ryan played with a jazzlike feel.
Opening for the King’s band was Ida Mae, a husband-and-wife duo formerly from England, now based in Nashville, featuring Chris Turpin on guitar and Stephanie Jean on vocals and percussion. Named after an old Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee song, they accompanied their singing with only an amplified Resonator guitar, tambourine and some heavy foot-stomping. Yes, they played their brand of roots Americana music with a heavy backbeat.
Definitely one of my top shows of the year. Marcus King Band, please come back soon.
THE MARCUS KING BAND SET LIST
Ain’t Nothing Wrong with That
Ohio (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
Dreams (Allman Brothers Band)
Five Long Years (Buddy Guy)
Plant Your Corn Early
Your Last Song
Autumn Rains (with Ida Mae)
Take the Highway (Marshall Tucker Band)
GO HERE to see more of Rudy Lu’s photographs of this concert…