Live Review: Marcus Foster

Marcus Foster

Leeds, Manchester and London November 2012

OK so it might have been a little greedy of me but who would turn down the opportunity to watch one of their favourite musicians live, several times over a week? I would have been crazy not to jump all over this, so I made it happen and well what a treat!

Having seen Marcus play only festivals and support shows in the UK before (I kept missing his headliners, bad fan, bad bad fan) I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I knew he would be great but what about the audience? To me a gig is a two way thing, it has to involve both the performer and the crowd to create atmosphere and if either side doesn’t go well then for me it’s always a little bit of a let down. I need not have worried.

First up was day one of the 5 date tour and I headed North to Leeds, to a venue I’ve never been to and one that I will now return to as soon as the opportunity arises. The Brundenell Social Club is way off the beaten track and in student land, and what a scene it provides. With the entire audience remaining seated throughout and lighting being bright I sat back and enjoyed a mainly acoustic performance. It felt very relaxed and chilled out although at times a little awkward. These aren’t supposed to be quiet shows, the vocal is too strong for that but it was amazing anyway and I was especially happy to hear album title track Nameless Path had been given a place in the set.

Marcus has a fantastic sense of humour and it came out best when he tried to involve the crowd in a little backing singing. It didn’t quite happen; visible seated audience wasn’t playing ball, though a few brave souls did their best whilst he meboaned how good everyone was making him feel (ironically of course). Marcus ended his show here by saying how entertaining we all were which raised a loud laugh and one lonely voice saying… “it’s because we’re sitting down, so it’s different.” She hit to nail on the head. It was different, for everyone I think, but Marcus’ performance stood up to it and I know he gained new fans that night.

Moving a little further South two days later Popped hit up The Ruby Lounge in Manchester and what a treat. I’d heard not so great things from the last time he played this city (down the the crowd, not Marcus) so I was so pleased to have to fight my way through a busy crowd to get a decent spot. Fans here were fans, not just curious, but they knew the words, to all of the album songs and they sang along happily. I’m not sure what happened in Birmingham the previous night but Marcus had broken his acoustic so we were treated to an entirely electric show; proving that it doesn’t matter what he plays the slower songs on they all sound brilliant.

Marcus is also very good at ad-libbing during live performances which almost guarantees you won’t always get the same performance twice. Perhaps this is why him and keyboard and BVs buddy Jack are always giving each other sly grins and looks. The bromance is just another added bonus to enjoy. It’s hot in The Ruby Lounge, really hot and as the songs in the set went on more people started to move forward and it was a bit like being in a sauna, with a winter jumper on. Having announced, about four times, that this song was from his latest EP, The Last House, Marcus really began to bring out the humour,  when he pulled a little bit of My Girl out of the bag the crowd erupted. Sooner than I knew it quick witted Marcus had changed the lyrics to My Songs… talking about my songs. Which made the crowd even more rowdier. This was the best live show of Marcus’ that I’d been to and everyone was loving it. As predicted the biggest cheers were for I Was Broken, people stopped quietly singing along and really got into it. By the time The Room came about I was in no doubt the audience would provide anything he asked for…. and they did! “Can I get a yeah?” YEAH! “Can I get a iihhwaahhhoooowwaahhhhiiiiiow”…….. err yes to that too!

 

So if I thought that Manchester was fab then I was in for a shock when two days later the London gig came about at the beautiful Islington Assembly Hall. This time we were treated to a full live band and new material was met with as much gusto as album tracks. This time both Shadows Of The City and I Was Broken seemed to be the most popular with what sounded like the entire building singing along. Marcus picked up on little things he’d said along the tour which weren’t necessarily funny to anyone other than him, Jack and me (and anyone else who happened to have been there!). My Girl/My Songs had another outing, each time he played it it got longer and longer but always ended abruptly as it was never supposed to be a full on cover that I know of but every time it made for a memorable and funny moment.

Old Birch Tree had the house clapping and clicking along and as the show started to come toward the end the crowd were in full flow, both upstairs and downstairs, there was whistling, shouting, foot stomping and from me all of the above plus lots of whooping smiling and dancing. Not only was this the best Marcus show I’d seen it was probably one of the best live shows I have been to in the last few years. I rate this guy BIG time and I’ve spent over two years shouting about it to anyone who would listen. I am so so happy that this show went down so well and  even happier that the crowd started a huge chant of “we want more” after he’d left the stage. His encore was simply a massive Blues funk party with an electric performance of Kiss Is A Knife and even the people in the rafters were up on their feet clapping and waving their arms.

When the show was over it was to the merch stand where when he appeared, Marcus was greeted by cheers and screams and all hell broke lose as not everyone could fit in the small space around the table. This is what I have wanted for him: a real and appreciative crowd who can see what I see and hear what I hear. Marcus should be on his was to bigger things in the UK now, I just hope he builds on this momentum and makes it happen. I know the man  himself was happy too about the night because he tweeted this “Thanks to everyone who came to the show tonight in London. It was one of the best shows of my life, thank you.”  and we all thank you too!

Watch Worn Down By Time Live at Islington Assembly Hall (with thanks to  @Katieh101):

You can also buy the new EP The Last House by Marcus Foster (at gigs and online and iTunes).

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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

    All articles written by Elena Katrina unless otherwise stated.

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