It was the Soul in the Horn festival at Herbert Von King Park in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn last Wednesday and the amphitheater was filled with the thick, smooth, sounds of Marcus Machado and his guitar. Performing among a line up of talented acts, such as Maurice “Mobetta” Brown and Kendra Foster, Machado stands out amongst a roster of serious talent that flowed together beautifully at this years Soul in the Horn Festival.
Machado strummed his guitar effortlessly with a full and powerful sound. The jazzy notes and bluesy rock arrangements closely resembled those from Machado’s legendary influencers, such as Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Carlos Santana and Eddie Hazel to name a few. Yet, Machado projected an upbeat, fun, unique and intricate arrangement that blend the sounds of blues, rock and jazz masterfully. During his performance, a five-piece band accompanied Machado on the drums, sax, bass, keys and smooth vocals, filling out the sound. Songs ranged from classic jazz, to full on “I absolutely must move my shoulders” funk.
The music had the whole crowd moving and filled the summery air with a sweet, smooth and positive vibe. One that Machado purposely created, reminding the audience to “give love” and “practice peace” throughout his performance. At a particularly beautiful moment, before one of his closing songs, he asked the audience to hold up their peace signs as he dedicated the piece to those we lost in the tragic Orlando attack, as well as Mohammad Ali and Prince, whom we also lost this year. The amphitheater quickly filled with peace signs in the air and a subtle moment of silence before launching into another graceful, roaring, guitar track.
If his undeniable talent isn't’ enough to consume you, his stage presence will be. Machado stands tall and cool, front and center of the stage, holding his guitar like it’s an extension of himself and strumming it casually as if it’s completely second nature. He has a swagger to the way he moves about the stage; nodding at this band and coyly demonstrating that he’s the one in charge.
It’s not often you see the guitarist front and center, leading the show; which Machado is trying to change. As he said in Rolling Stone Magazine’s “Next Young Gun” featured article, “While I feel like these days there’s a lot of great players out there, something has changed where you don't’ really see guitar players as the lead people.” He’s doing his part to bring it back. The entire band was amazing, and delivered a full sound, but the guitar lead the way. And those guitar solos? Damn.
Seeing Machado playing live is a must. He willfully, and unapologetically, commands the stage beautifully with his presence, skill, and effervescent sense of love and harmony. He has dates here in New York from now through December. His guitar-powered EP, 29 is currently streaming on Spotify and on his website, Official Marcus Machado, where you can also see all of his show dates, bio and music. This artist is an act you don’t want to miss!
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