I WAS THERE | C.W STONEKING & MARLON WILLIAMS, MELBOURNE ZOO TWILIGHTS, 5.3.16
The pairing of C.W Stoneking and Marlon Williams made having a bad night simply not an option. The Caroline Australia label mates and awe-inspiring live performers delivered incredible sets amongst the picturesque zoo setting, demonstrating exactly why they’re lauded as two of Australia’s most talented musicians.
Despite his mere 25 years of age Williams performs like a seasoned veteran. Known best for his dark narratives and a voice that never fails to impress, Williams has been winning himself fans all over the world off the back of his debut self titled album. Taking the stage solo Williams launched into tracks ‘The First Time I Saw Your Face’ and ‘Lonely Side of Her’ before welcoming his band The Yarra Benders. Williams was in a relaxed mood, talking about the inspiration behind ‘State Hospital’ before quipping “I do realise this sounds like the plot of Shutter Island, but I wrote the song first… I think”. ‘Hello Miss Lonesome’ was particularly well received, but as always set closer ‘When I Was A Young Girl’ was an obvious highlight. I don’t think I could ever tire of hearing Williams perform that song, with the raw emotion and vocal delivery knocking me out every time I’ve seen him live.
Stoneking arrived on stage shortly after and launched into the first six songs off his acclaimed 2015 album Gon Boogaloo. ‘The Zombie’ stood out as a live favourite, with the back up singers adding to the performance with their choreographed dance moves and animated screams. Along with the back up singers, Stoneking was accompanied by a show-stealing horn section and double bassist that brought the songs from his three albums to life. Stoneking introduced each song played, proving to be a lot more conversational than one may initially assume. “This is the jungle segment” he announced before playing ‘The Jungle Man’, ‘The Jungle Lullaby’ and ‘The Jungle Swing’ which seemed very appropriate given the zoo setting. Performing track ‘Talkin’ Lion Blues’ solo, Stoneking naturally dedicated it to the lions of the Melbourne Zoo, joking that he was going to “ransack” the place after the show. Ending on the track ‘ Jailhouse Blues’, Stoneking left the stage to pleas for more, proving the level of adoration from the crowd.
C.W Stoneking and Marlon Williams are two of the most effortlessly amazing musicians around at the moment. While much has been said about them, it really is worth checking them out for yourself to see the incredible displays of musicianship that make them both so noteworthy. Kudos to Zoo Twilights for recognising a pairing that would make for a show not to be missed.
By Holly Pereira / @pseudoholly