Review by Lulu Davenport, photos by Sean Larkin
The opening slot for Eric Martin at Rock City Basement has been given to Nottingham’s own Teenage Casket Company, a task, which they jokingly say, is one they were hesititant to perform due to being overwhelmed in admiration for the headliner. They play tonight as a division of their full band with lead singer Rob Wylde adorning an acoustic guitar, along with Rob Lane leaving bassist Dave Kerr and drummer Spike taking the night off. The set is short and sweet starting just before 7.45 and finishing a little over half an hour later. In their time on stage they seem relaxed and comfortable as a duo plugging their latest album Still Standing released last year from which they played the track ‘Kings Of The World’ and ‘Takes A Little Time’.
Their acoustic versions work very well but on occasions the vocal overpowers the subtlety of acoustic guitar, which can be expected if a singer is used to performing with a full band. That said, I was left with a desire to see the full show at the Rescue Rooms for Macmillan Festival on Saturday 6thanother upbeat, punchy song which converts well without losing its momentum. The lyrics are happy and well in line with their influences of Bowling for Soup and a strong Wheatus edge.
OK, you know its bad when iconic legend Mr Big himself mentions the sticky floor that is part and parcel of Rock City’s Basement. Eric Martin is actually quite funny keeping the crowd entertained cracking jokes throughout his set about sound checks and being very nervous. There’s also a mention of his new album with Mr.Big called Stories We Tell, which he introduces by fondly telling anecdotes about fellow Mr.Big drummer, Pat Torpey, who is currently fighting Parkinsons disease. The set opens with ‘Lost In America’ and continues to showcase the best and most popular Mr. Big hits from over the last fifteen years. ‘Water Over The Bridge’, ‘Just Take My Heart’ and ‘Electrified’ are all in there tonight.
The fifty three year old serenades a star stuck audience with renditions from all musical walks of Eric Martin’s past, from 415 track ‘Sucker For A Pretty Face’ to the absolute Mr Big classic ‘To Be With You’. This was the song that made the world sit up and pay attention back in 1991, even featuring on Now That’s What I Call Music 21 (OK, I owned it on double tape!). Throughout the night a few technical hitches don’t even phase him as he expertly shows his vast guitar skills through Mr Big track ‘Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy’, a slightly bluesy number showing his Lynyrd Skynyrd influences.
The set lasts around two hours with 100% maximum effort and energy making the overall night an absolute classic, filled full of sing along songs with a truly amazing entertainer. Any absentees unable to attend this, the only U.K Eric Martin gig, can get a Mr.Big fix when the new album is released September 19th.
Eric Martin returns to the UK at the end of the year with a tour that includes a Midlands date at Birmingham’s Oobleck on December 13th
1. Lost In America
2. Where Do I Fit In?
3. Wild World
4. Voodoo Kiss
5. Dancin’ With My Devils
7. Sucker For A Pretty Face
8. Just Take My Heart
9. Dont Stop
11. Water Over The Bridge
13. To Be With You
14. Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy
15. Green-tinted Sixties Mind
16. These Are The Good Times
17. Stranger In My Life
19. 30 Days In The Hole