Photo of the band Slinky at The Marrs Bar

Gig Review
Music Spoken Here presents Slinky Machine
The Marr’s Bar, Worcester
Thursday 7th March, 2024

We were treated to a fantastic show on Thursday from Slinky Machine, who trekked all the way up from Lyme Regis to play their Midlands debut at The Marr’s Bar.

The five-piece fusion outfit was formed by guitarist John Robertson (of The Selecter), joined by frontman and bassist Pete EarleIan Kindred on keys, original drummer Cameron MacDougall and featuring special guest, Brazilian Caio Mamberti on percussion, who has performed live with Stevie Wonder and Tania Maria!

The first set opened with ‘Lymaks‘, by FORQ (a spin-off from Snarky Puppy). The groove was set up by interplay between Mamberti’s congas and MacDougall’s drums, as Earle’s bass, then Kindred’s keys, came in. Robertson got involved for the first solo, followed by Kindred letting loose on the keys for a bit before closing out the piece with a few bars of Stevie Wonder’s  ‘Another Star’.

Photo of Caio Mamberti at The Marrs Bar
Caio Mamberti at The Marrs Bar by Carl Freeman

This was followed up with ‘Pools‘ by Steps Ahead, which appears on Slinky Machine’s recent album ‘Choose Your Froot‘. We then got two originals from the same album – ‘Malmo‘, followed by ‘Gabriel‘, which was the first tune the band ever wrote. After being mentioned in the Music Spoken Here ‘Piece Talks’ interview [] last week, the eagerly-anticipated fusion classic ‘Red Baron‘ by Billy Cobham followed, before closing out the first set with ‘Nota Bene‘, another original from Choose Your Froot.

The second set opened with two more originals from the album – ‘Lightbulb‘, which was based on the bassline from C&C Music Factory’s hit ‘Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm‘, followed by the Dave Brubeck-inspired ‘Becks Bru‘ in 5/4 time. The band then played the beautiful ‘Human Nature‘, written by Steve Pocaro of Toto, that appeared on the massive Michael Jackson ‘Thriller‘ album and was also covered by Miles Davis on the 1985 album ‘You’re Under Arrest‘. The rhythmically intricate original ‘Sixes and Sevens‘ closed out the second set, which passes through a number of themes before winding up with a solid groove that has a real 80s Brit-funk vibe.

The appreciative audience couldn’t get enough! The entire stock of CDs that this exceptional band had brought along were sold out, and calls for more were rewarded with an exceptional encore of Billy Cobham’s ‘Stratus‘, which frontman and bassist Pete Earle acknowledged was a tune they love to play as it reminds them of the great Jeff Beck, who performed it on the ‘Live at Ronnie Scott’s’ album and sadly passed away last year.

Photographer and Music Spoken Here regular Carl Freeman took to Facebook after the event to share his experience of the night:

“Last night was another brilliant Music Spoken Here gig at The Marrs Bar. This time we were entertained by Slinky Machine. When I say, “entertained” I mean we were totally awestruck by their passion, energy and above all, their musicianship. As I watched them play, my heart went out to anyone who was not in the room. They were simply sublime. It was one of those gigs that will enter the Worcester music scene history books. Music Spoken Here continues to act as a talent magnet, somehow attracting the very best artists to The Marrs Bar. Long may it continue.”

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