© Jimmy Little Junior
Photos by Jimmy Little Junior
Live Gig Review by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
Mr Big front man Eric Martin became the latest internationally renowned rock superstar to tread the Diamond Rock Club stage in a solo/acoustic guise. Set in a rural backwater well off the beaten track The Diamond Rock Club has quickly established a strong reputation. Mixing up new and upcoming local bands with established global stars the small homely venue has set the benchmark for what type of quality service a rock venue should offer.
First up were half of local band Million Dollar Reload. Stepping outside the confines of the studio to perform acoustically. The acoustic format while not new to the guys, showcases a side to the band that many may not be that familiar with. Mixing some newly recorded songs with old favorites-an instant rapport was established with the rock club audience. The general bonhomie exuded was present both onstage between front man Phil and guitarist Bam and also towards the audience. As an appetizer to the release of the the new album the new songs showcased a maturity in their composition and structure compared with the larger party-anthems of the bands previous releases. The stripped down format also illustrated a more soulful and even a blues element to Phil’s voice. II feel that the new album will certainly mark yet another step up in the already blossoming musical career of Million Dollar Reload. I am personally looking forward to its release with keen anticipation. I was also happy to complete my personal Mdr collection by picking up a copy of the bands self released live album “As real as it Gets” recorded at the very same venue.
A short break, enhanced by a local troubadours marriage proposal to an exotic lady from another land-then it was time for Eric Martin to step onto the stage. Having been a huge fan of his day -job in Mr Big for many years well since the eighties this was to mark my live debut for him. Although Eric did venture to our country last year his appearance unfortunately clashed with a previous musical commitment.
Well if Eric’s vocal talents come across well on recorded mediums-to actually hear and witness it live escalates the songs to completely another dimension. His acoustic playing is also quite accomplished. The set ranged on one hand from powerful rock songs “Wind me up”,”Colorado Bulldog” and “Blame It on my youth”These contrasted with the songs that people were more familiar with ie”the hits”songs like the massive “To Be With You” (cue mass sing a long).
His stage manner seemed as comfortable playing the songs on a small club stage as much as in the worlds larger arenas. The between song stories also illustrated a personal side to the performer-which were tinged with humorous anecdotes and a great delivery of instant responses to various crowd requests. Bringing on Phil from the support to share vocals on “Alive and kicking”just served to illustrate his easy-going character and friendly character.
Taking time to meet his fans afterwards, pose for photos and sign many things afterwards also helped to bring down any barriers between his perceived rock star status. Another Diamond night in this total gem of a rock club here in N.Ireland. How truly lucky we are to have it delivering the world legends in rock right to our very door. Once again I doff my cap and raise a glass, saying thanks to all the team behind it.