Mike Marlin @ Hoxton Hall

mike marlinLet’s get the magic out of the way first.

A man pens a single called ‘The Magician’ and some great mind out there takes a leap of imagination and hey presto, you have a music video chock full of magicians sat round a poker table showing off their “mad skillz”. I suspect the same person decided to take this to the extreme level for Mike Marlin’s single launch as the audience stood through two hours of magical trickery before Marlin graced the stage.

I’ll either take my magicians tacky and retro like Paul Daniels, or cryptically charming like Derren Brown thanks. I don’t take them waving what looked like a red sharpie around and taking themselves so painfully seriously I was looking out for the Britain’s Got Talent judges in the audience (I’m looking at you Dafedas B).

Marlin and his band did not appear in a puff of smoke. They just walked on stage as standard. The intimate crowd were treated to songs from the first album Nearly Man along with material from forthcoming album Man On The Ground after opening with the single The Magician.

The drummer was so animated I had to tear my eyes away from him and concentrate on the man I had come to see (I’m from The Muppet Show generation; Animal has a lot to answer for).

The songs are well crafted, simple melodies with sincere lyrics. Had Marlin taken off his glasses after removing his hat I would not have been surprised if Badly Drawn Boy had been revealed. Perhaps that was the real illusion we were there to witness. I don’t say this flippantly, it’s a compliment to Marlin that his music could stand up to Damon Gough’s vast back catalogue.

As a performer I am not sure he will set the world on fire. In a competitive and crowded live music scene it’s the unique, those that shout the loudest, have something show stopping or quirky to offer that rise to the top. Marlin strikes me as a humble and sincere man.

Listen to his lyrics and its clear here is a man who wears his heart on his sleeve, surrenders his emotions to the listener completely. After spending an evening in his company anyone would wish him every success for this release, a thoroughly nice chap who deserves recognition for his well-honed talent.

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