REVIEW: The Marcus King Band at Turner Hall

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Photo by Daniel Ojeda

A guitar prodigy, a 5 piece backup band, and a 2-hour full-on rock show. That’s The Marcus King Band summed up in one sentence. I feel as if I’m still coming down from how incredible this show was live. The blues-rock meets country western band played for a rather packed Turner Hall audience this past Sunday and what they lack in on-stage energy is heightened tenfold in their musical prowess. Between the screaming guitar solos and 5-minute drum breaks, this band has much more to offer than what you see on the surface. 

The Band

Raised in a blues family, Marcus King began learning the guitar around 4 years old and began playing professionally around 11. Originating from Greensville, South Carolina the MKB draws its roots from blues, soul, and outlaw country. With only a few records starting back from 2015 the Marcus King Band draws from a vast catalog of inspired music to fill their sets to appease the demanding fans. 

The Experience

I’m going to get this out of the way and say that The Marcus King Band was easily one of the best shows I’ve seen all year. The raw intensity that Marcus King wields with his guitar made it clear to me why the show was packed at Turner Hall. Coming out looking like a cowboy with a conscious Marcus King wastes no time in showing what he is capable of. We’re one song in and I already have chills running up my spine as his fingers dance up and down the fretboard of his Les Paul. 

Throughout the show, it was clear there were some issues with the audio. A few songs had distorted vocals when he was trying to talk to the audience. It was like the reverb from the guitar was mixing into his vocals. Despite this, Marcus King powered through and made up for it with face-melting solos. After listening to his studio recordings, the live versions of MKB are something that any fan needs to witness. The amount of talent he pours into his live shows is unmatched by any other guitarist right now in music. 

The show itself was a mixture of older and unreleased music. While a welcome changeup I wish I heard a few of the other songs that the crowd would have been familiar with. A small complaint in what was an absolute blast of a set. Playing for close to 2 hours, The Marcus King Band, highlighted each of their members with righteous solos, that wasn’t overstayed but topped at the perfect moment. As the fans demanded more, Marcus King kindly obliged in true “southern charm” fashion. As he mixed up his setlist he also sprinkled some classics like Waylon Jennings’s “A Good Hearted Woman” which felt very welcomed to this show. 

The Verdict

Even though I only recently began listening to The Marcus King Band I felt very welcomed to the crowd and set. It was clear that this was a show for blues lovers. You could walk in completely unknowing of this band and be blown away at the spectacle we got to experience. The Marcus King Band is welcomed by Milwaukee and I hope they will be back for many more shows. This band is on the cusp of something great and if a show of this caliber can fill Turner Hall now, it’s only a matter of time till they are selling out arenas. 

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Photo by Daniel Ojeda
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