Show Review: Marrow At The Drake Hotel

Story & Photos by Dede Akolo

While nursing my Halloween Hangover™ last Sunday, I had the pleasure of seeing Marrow and Andrew Austin at the Drake Hotel. Both acts offered a wonderful, soft yet energized sets that put my weary head to ease.

Opening is Andrew Austin, a singer-songwriter based in Sarnia, Ontario. I had never heard of either of these acts before and was a tad apprehensive to Austin’s blend of folk, country and alternative rock. Conversely, his well-rounded voice floated on guitar melodies energetic and impassioned. Austin comes across relaxed and purposeful on stage. While I found his style a little too “TV-ready” and affable, that is exactly the reason he is on the upswing of his career.

Allow me to digress, there were very few people in attendance and I ended up next to Marrow’s biggest fan, this is what he told me. Marrow is a four piece rock band from Chicago. The group consists of Kids These Days alum Macie Stewart, Liam Cunningham, and Lane Beckstrom. Kids These Days was a seven piece indie band with Vic Mensa and Nico Segal (a.k.a. Donnie Trumpet of The Social Experiment) and collaborated with the likes of Chance the Rapper, Mario C. (Beastie Boys, Jack Johnson), and Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. Vocalist and keyboardist Macie Stewart even featured on Chuck Inglish’s “Glam” with Chance the Rapper. Unfortunately, the band broke up in May 2013, Mensa and Segal pursued their own careers, and Matt Carroll joined the above-mentioned members to form Marrow.

This condensed artist biography aside, Marrow delivered. I was first under the impression that they would be another typical indie rock quartet but I could not be more mistaken. Marrow blends the blues and soul influences from Kids These Days to a fresh dose of early indie rock and art rock. Liam and Macie’s vocals harmonize perfectly. Marrow possesses this variety, this eclectic sound grounded in skillful instrumentation. The idiosyncratic melodies kept every song lively and engaging. Some songs were bright and jumpy like “Paulson” while others were rather haunting.

Everyone needs to listen to Marrow and Andrew Austin. These are two artists with assured presence and accessible sounds, but I would argue that they have two different points of accessibility . It felt strange pairing an alt-country, singer-songwriter with a four piece indie band blending soul and punk. Otherwise, it was sad to see so few people at the show. Regardless, listen to Marrow’s debut album The Gold Standard, which came out in September.

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