Eric Martin of Mr Big (as well as Avantasia) fame opened his UK acoustic tour in Bannerman’s Bar in Edinburgh on October 16, a Tuesday night. Joining him onstage and for the tour was David Cotterill from UK metal outfit Demon. What sounds like a very unlikely pairing is actually very effective and fun. As you will be able to tell from the review both artists complement each other nicely throughout the show. David proving himself to be a revelation on acoustic guitar for those of us that only know him from playing in Demon. A healthy crowd pitched up once again at Bannerman’s where the shows are coming thick and fast (which is great for the Edinburgh music scene).
Much of the set comprised of Mr Big tunes, obviously stripped down to 2 voices and 2 acoustic guitars. It tends to be when songs are played in this format that you can tell how good they actually are. Luckily, that band are not only excellent virtuosos they can write some very good songs and melodies. Meaning plenty of chances to sing and clap along.
High Points Include:
Highlights included the sassy “Voodoo Kiss” where he laughed at our attempts to clap in time, getting us to redo it in time with the rhythm. Dave’sguitar work, especially on “Fragile” from “The Stories We Could Tell” album was scintillating and receiving one of the biggest cheers of the night. Eric told us that “Big Love” was the first song he ever wrote for Mr Big and he nailed it.
Of course, the hits went down well with 2 versions of “To Be With You” one being a country version which seemed to go down pretty well (there was a cheer before for it) which led into a pinpoint accurate version acoustically. “Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy” didn’t lose any edge played by just the two of them helped by the crowd screaming out the title when required. Intimate but still rocking.
The 2 songs from his solo albums stood up well in the middle of all the Mr Big repertoire with ”Untouchable” particularly sounding good.
The only cover on the night was one which he does regularly with the band in Cat Steven’s “Wild World” which suits his voice and style along with being a fabulous song in its own right.
Much of the evening was made due to the immediacy of the chat or banter. Whether it being him apologizing for having a “potty mouth” and remarking that Scottish folks don’t seem to get offended much compared to back home to describing the band as “The Unfuckables” on the basis that his eyesight is awful and David is half deaf from playing metal, he kept chatting at a rate of knots. In fact, he said that Mr Big won’t let him talk much so he needs to make up elsewhere! Throughout the crowd was laughing and joining in with the fun that both guys were obviously having. The laughs with a girl in the crowd that gave him a handkerchief to wipe sweat away wanting it back and the guitarist in the front row with his arms folded (“just like a guitarist”) who at one point was made his guitar tech he involved the audience.
For me I went mad when Eric forced David to play some Rush on the guitar “like you do when you are warming up” and he treated us with the intro and one verse of “Closer To The Heart” and a quick run through the opening guitar motif from “The Spirit Of Radio” proving his prowess on the acoustic guitar completely. Yes, I did sing along rather loudly on the former!
What Music Is Really About:
Aside from the actual show, the night proved again the quality of people in the business of rock and metal. One fan who was on their way to the show, took ill which meant they couldn’t make it and as one would expect were gutted. The sight of seeing the venue promoter sorting out a poster from the venue to be signed by Eric for that fan was one thing, but to see Eric himself offering to do a recorded message to her was something else. Well done to both the promoter and singer taking time out to try and make up for a fan’s disappointment on the night. To me, that is part of the reason I love this scene, the people in it including artists. A beautiful end to a fantastically entertaining evening.