Live Review: Marcus Foster, Sean Rowe, Ruston Kelly

Marcus Foster, Sean Rowe, Ruston Kelly

The Troubadour, Los Angeles, March 5th 2013

As you will probably know if you read Popped from time to time, I think Marcus Foster is the BEES KNEES. So it will come as no surprise to you that following my trip to the States to see him play last year that I returned once again to visit friends and catch great live music. This time in one of the most important music venues in music history. The Troubadour opened in the late 1950s and played host to pretty much any name you can think of, from folk to blues, comedy and was even the place where people who wanted to be in bands met other people who wanted to be in bands… and so they formed great bands, like The Eagles.

Ruston Kelly - The Troubador

Ruston Kelly – The Troubadour

So anyway, we had the best view in the house, in my opinion, front row looking on down to the crowd and the stage. Ruston Kelly was up first and you have to really listen out to what he’s saying in between the songs because this guy has wit as sharp as a razor miss it and you’ll wonder what made you bleed. Aside from that he’s also really talented with a bunch of his own tracks well rehearsed, well versed and very well played. Ruston comes from Nashville and tonight he was wearing his most rock n roll shirt….he points out that it has reinstones on and everything. He also has the matching twang to his vocal as well as a really warm tone that has a very slight raspy undertone at times. He played a great set; one man, one seat and one guitar and the ability to make great and interesting chord changes. Plus a little flirting with the audience surely didn’t harm and he gained well deserved rapturous applause.

Sean Rowe and full live band (made up of borrowed members if I call correctly) were second on the bill.

Sean Rowe and band - The Troubador

Sean Rowe and band – The Troubadour

I’ve paid close attention to this guy since I found out that he was playing on this tour. He even did a UK tour before coming home for these shows and 6 Music presenter Mark Radcliffe interviewed him and sang his praises just as I am about to do. Hold on to your hats folks…. Sean Rowe is one of the most talented musicians I have ever had the pleasure to watch live. His band manage to perfectly replicate the myriad of sounds that are to be found on Sean’s current album, The Salesman And The Shark, but it isn’t just this that makes it special to watch. It’s every element; the discussion between members, the audience, the tales, the dedications but most of all the passion and the talent. This man has both those things by the bucket load. With his acoustic guitar strapped to him like it’s a living part of him Sean rips through each track, his vocal so deep and unique and the band so in tune with every little improvisation that might occur. It wasn’t all heady rock n roll though, there was a really cool moment when Sean took command of the stage on his own and delivered several songs including a really sweet dedication to his young son. I really can’t tell you enough how much you need to check this guy out and I’m very happy to know I’ll be seeing him again before my trip is over.

By the time Marcus Foster came on stage I was a little bit beyond jet lag and struggling to keep my eyes open but I knew, from experience, that if anything was going to keep me going it would be a rip roaring set from Mr F. I wasn’t quite expecting his entourage of friends to also keep me awake (The Hyenas, as I have fondly nicknamed them), they howled and roared their way through each and every track. It certainly added to the atmosphere but even without them it was electric, the place was packed to the rafters and the new tracks went down just as well as the tried and tested. It was marcus foster 2013great to hear him play Tumble Down,(pretty sure he did it this night and not another but could be wrong) that one will always make me very happy. I hate that I Was Broken is always the one that everyone goes crazy for, it’s a good song yes, but man c’mon the best live track right now is Strange Woods.

I have forgotten to mention, in my haste of writing this all out, that this is Marcus’ first tour with a full band. This gives the whole set a whole new dimension and Marcus really feeds off of it. He’s still his same old kooky self though, “accidentally on purpose” fucking things up between songs, pulling faces, cracking jokes but he really does grab that electric guitar and gives it some. The addition of having bass and drums helps bring the electric set alive. I still love the few solo performed tracks that he does because some of these songs do require the intimacy that playing alone can bring.

At the end of the night it wasn’t just me who was totally high on the history of the venue, the performances and for me one solitary bottle of water, it seemed everyone, bands and hyenas included sucked it all up and it has to go down as one of the most enjoyable shows I’ve been to. In the last 5 years anyway, which is still saying something.

One Response to “Live Review: Marcus Foster, Sean Rowe, Ruston Kelly”
  1. popped music says:

    Reblogged this on Elena Katrina and commented:

    This does count because this is something I did on my trip!


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