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Michael Malarkey Studio 2 Liverpool Concert Review (October 26th 2017)

Photo Credit: tom.fisher186

Michael Malarkey is mostly known for his acting role as Enzo on The Vampire Diaries, but he also has serious music aspirations within the encompassing genres of indie alternative music; which are intentions showcased by releasing his debut album titled Mongrels on September 8th 2017, alongside a full UK and European tour in support of the album. Michael Malarkey performed live at Studio 2 in Parr Street Studios, Liverpool on Thursday, October 26th 2017. I was in attendance, so here is my in-depth review.

Photo Credit: Annabel Allum Facebook

Annabel Allum was the support artist opening the night’s music with a solo set of her own brand of indie music that was certainly well written, catchy and entertaining throughout the 35 minutes or so set. You can find everything you need to know about Annabel’s music and tour dates from her official website, while some of her songs are officially available for streaming from SoundCloud.

As any video footage I had previously viewed on YouTube of Michael performing live was as a solo artist; I was surprised to see an entire six-piece band on stage. Performing solo requires a certain extra artistic element of a single person captivating an audience, although performing as an ensemble is just as difficult from the perspective of timing and collective co-ordination, especially when there are six band members performing simultaneously.

Photo Credit: Gag83G

Michael Malarkey provided lead vocals and played the acoustic guitar to a high standard that was matched for quality by the lead guitarist, keyboard/synth player, bass guitarist, drummer and cellist. At any given moment of a song there were anywhere from two, up to four part harmonies as the lead guitarist, keyboard player and cellist were sharing the vocals with Michael resulting in interesting intertwining melodies.

A statue of a wild boar was situated at the forefront of the stage; in a fun nod to it being the seventh band member, Michael invited people to take pictures of themselves standing next to the wild boar.

Photo Credit: tom.fisher186

Michael led the introductions and chatter in communication to the audience in-between songs with humour and enthusiasm; once impersonating a scouse Liverpool accent as though it was his own which certainly received a warm round of applause from the crowd. There was even a performance of Uncomfortably Numb where Michael walked through the audience singing directly to fans up close and personal, while giving high-fives and achieving a genuine level of interaction with the crowd that not every lead vocalist is capable of. Michael accidentally skipped ahead a song on the set list when talking about the song the band was about to perform towards the end of the set; which produced a few laughs on stage.

As someone who has performed in duos, three-piece bands and four-piece bands, I know the dedication it takes to perfect a song from the writing process to playing the song as a band without mistakes in notation or timing. This is clearly an exceptionally well rehearsed group of talented musicians as their sound was beautifully balanced without ever emphasising one instrument in a manner that could drown the sound of another from the mix, while simultaneously remaining consistent with a tight rhythm that is always in time.

It was clear to see the camaraderie of the band from the moment they hit the stage as they were fully focused on producing an entertaining show, while enjoying it in the process. The togetherness of the band is also showcased during their tour scheduling as it is very rare to see a band perform any leg of a tour on seven consecutive nights.

Photo Credit: tom.fisher186

The set lasted around an hour and 20 minutes comprising of performances for the entirety of the Mongrels album in addition to songs from the Feed the Flames EP; before Michael joked that he was doing a solo encore because of how politely everyone shouted for another song. Every song had a meaning that quite evidently resonated with the audience as all of those in attendance applauded not only the quality of the performance, but each individual song.

It was also nice to meet Michael Malarkey who was so open to meeting fans at the merchandise table, shaking hands, talking and signing their merchandise. We even shared a joke about a Funny or Die comedy sketch about a fan daring him to better their vampire pose, before the entire cast joins in as they all try to better each other’s vampire pose.

Photo Credit: Gag83G

If you are ever planning to attend a Michael Malarkey concert, then make sure to bring a fair amount of money as there is an entire merchandise table full to the brim of individually appropriately priced amazing merchandise from numerous t-shirt designs in varying sizes to the Mongrels album and Feed the Flames EP available on both CD and vinyl in addition to stickers, signed posters and more besides.

Overall, Michael Malarkey’s six-piece band performed flawlessly; showing that the band is collectively set for big things together. It was an expansive set; covering the breadth of the Mongrels album and earlier songs in their back catalogue of indie alternative story focused music. As validated by the Studio 2 concert; Michael Malarkey has earned his place in the music industry just as much as acting in stage, television and film productions. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you attend a Michael Malarkey concert and experience it for yourself.

Concert Review score: 10 out of 10

You can find some songs to officially stream, a store full of merchandise, every upcoming tour date and more besides on Michael Malarkey’s official website.

Jason


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