Words/Photos Wal Reid
I always appreciate musician Marlon Williams’ monastic outlook on Love and Life, his lack of hedonistic aspirations in song and lyric, both, strike a chord with me. Unpretentiously honest, cutting through the twee bullshit prevalent on todays radio airwaves.
Tonight’s gig at the strange but Kiwi-as venue, the Point Chevalier RSA a fitting setting for Williams and band, who looked ‘chomping at the bit’ ready to fire-up and stroke the eager audience with his Country styled alternative songs.
Williams looked remarkably spritely and composed revealing finding comfort in hearing “Maori words” being spoken at the airport while pushing around his cart after arriving back here. His presence strong onstage attired in trademark tie sans hat, he performed uninhibited, guitar at the fore, appearing as if in auto-pilot mode while channelling the muse within.
Opting to play a heap of new songs like the very catchy What’s Chasing You or his newbie Nobody Gets What They Want the new single with Aldous Harding. Perennial favourites Hello Miss Lonesome or Strange Things were noticeably missing but they didn’t seem out place or phase the sold out RSA crowd.
With the freakishly musical wunderkind Dave Khan adding finesse with fiddle, guitar & keys, Gus Agars was solid on drums teaming up with Ben Woolley on bass providing backing vocals & beefing up Williams’ unique dulcet tone – harmonic bliss. Woolley also seemed to have his own entourage who vocally expressed themselves at different points in the concert, especially when he filled in for Aldous Harding on Nobody Gets What They Want.
Williams voice transports the listener to an era when music seem untainted almost pure, his soft lilt given a workout on rockier numbers Dark Child and latest single Vampire Again, his voice almost styled on vocalist greats like Lennon or Reeves while stamping his own on Party Boy is one reason he’s has been garnishing attention from mainstream media.
Muttering to the crowd “We’ve got time for a couple of more” much to the delight of the audience, the group left finishing on Love Is A Terrible Thing and a Screaming Jay Hawkins cover Portrait of a Man, it was definitely a high-note and great climax to see one of the most understated musicians from this country perform before he embarks on his World Tour next year.
Let’s hope those pesky Australians don’t claim him for themselves, otherwise, we may have to get ‘Cindy’ to go deal to them.