Mr Big, made a series of excellent hits dominating the 90s. Eventually they split up in 2002, then after a long break and a reunion in 2009 they decided to stay together and produce a new album in 2011.
The vocalist Eric Martin has been in the game since 18, with his unique vocal talent. Working with many successful artists and an illustrious solo career, he continues to perform solo acoustic sets. This time, flying in from a gig in Rome late afternoon to Cardiff.
It’s worth noting the venue first, Live Lounge is an independent club, with another one in Ayia Napa. One of Cardiff’s hidden gems, serving food in the day, with feeling you are in restaurant. A classy looking place with a great design and an upstairs bar, stage view balcony. As well as a good standing or dance area, by the stage, with a large bar downstairs. Luxury seating, all around the edges of it all. Friendly door staff, efficient but fun bar staff and with a general cool vibe, that’s open until 4am.
The management decided to book Eric Martin and run the night for free. Obviously on a first come first serve basis.
First up on stage to a packed house, Smokin Aces – an up and coming Cardiff original also covers band. Playing whatever anyone asked for, an impressive approach to well performed acoustic takes on hits. They definitely made an impact on a cheering crowd.
The atmosphere in the club is buzzing, as Eric Martin is announced and casually walks to the stage. Already charming the crowd while techs iron out a few teething set ups. Calmly saying, “Hey these things happen, it won’t be long and we get down to the music folks”
This man’s voice is immense and with perfect acoustic guitar playing accompaniment. Performing a repertoire of rocking hits with an acoustic edge such as ‘Wind Me Up’, ‘Blame It On My Youth’ and ‘Colorado Dog’.
These contrasted with hits like ‘Green Tinted Sixties Mind’ and of course ‘To Be With You’. Never missing a note or pitch, Eric Martin in the raw proves to be a superb vocalist and performer.
After Martin had left the stage another covers band appeared – Groovinators – and during their set Eric Martin reappeared. Now with an electric outfit behind him, Eric belted out some more hits ‘Take A Walk’ and ‘Daddy Brother Lover Little Boy’.
How do you top that, well he stayed around the club. Mixing with fans and partying with all the staff into the early hours. A genuine character indeed and I was fortunate to have a drink and chat with him afterwards. Telling me about how he and Billy Sheehan got together with the vision of forming Mr Big. Stories of L.A. and record labels, Pat Torpey and Paul Gilbert’s work with Robert Plant.
In conclusion, Eric Martin, is one of the most talented and grounded rock stars around. Who seems to be living life, doing what he loves and having fun. With more energy and enthusiasm at 52 years, than most 18 year olds. He puts on a great show and definitely has a lust for live and a good time. And if you are ever in Cardiff, get yourself over to Live Lounge, a warm welcome awaits.
Review and photos by Jeff Oram
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