MUSIC REVIEW: Marlon Williams & The Yarra Benders

Marlon Williams and The Yarra Benders  at The Small Ballroom on November 20.
Marlon Williams and The Yarra Benders at The Small Ballroom on November 20.


Small Ballroom

November 20

ARE you heading to A Day On The Green on Saturday? Get there early if you are.

Marlon Williams is opening the show and, if his headline show at The Small Ballroom is anything to go by, you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to hear him  live.

The 24-year-old New Zealander is enormously talented.

He’s blessed with a voice that can put tingles down the spine and leave your jaw on the floor – as he proved when he sang solo during his reworking of When I Was A Young Girl, a song once recorded by Nina Simone.

The big note he hits at the end of the song is astounding and the dead silence of the crowd during that moment reinforces how captivating he is on stage.

The temperature has topped 40 in Newcastle  and Williams tells the crowd he was in Auckland at 6am that same day (he picked up two awards at the New Zealand Music awards, including best male artist) where it was 12degrees.

‘‘It’s too hot for me!’’ he tells the crowd.

Williams is at the end of an exhaustive year of touring in support of his debut solo album.

What makes his album so awesome is the diversity – from full-speed country (Hello Miss Lonesome) to jangly 1960s pop (After All) to eerie storytelling (Strange Things). 

 Williams serves up a brilliant mixed bag.

He’s joined on stage  The Yarra Benders which features mandolin, double bass, electric guitar and acoustic, and fiddle, with the backing of drummer Gus Agars.

They’re a tight unit and have a real energy on stage.

Williams’ musical partner – and girlfriend – Aldous Harding joins him on vocals throughout the set, singing cheek-to-cheek, and they’re an adorable pairing.

My advice? Don’t miss out next time.