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Marlowe at Thekla: the boat that bopped

Marlowe at Thekla: the boat that bopped

Marlowe at Thekla
L Parley at Thekla
L Parley at Thekla
L Parley at Thekla
L Parley at Thekla +20
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L Parley at Thekla

Tonight’s Marlowe gig was on The Thekla, I say “on” because Thekla is in fact a boat. And the converted German cargo ship, which is moored up in the heart of Bristol has become somewhat of an iconic venue. As soon as I walked in I felt this was going to be my kind of place, dark with low ceilings, I had a feeling it was going to go off, and I wasn’t wrong…

Marlowe are the duo that are L’Orange and Solemn Brigham, and despite having released three critically acclaimed albums, the pair in their Marlowe form seem to somewhat fly under the radar. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to tonight… Everyone enters the venue cold and wet as it’s absolutely hammering down outside, and the support act that is L Parley does a stellar job of warming the crowd up which gets more and more tightly packed pretty quickly. 

Tonight’s gig was a lesson in how live hip hop should be done, L’Oranges crate-digging sample-based beats, along with Brigham’s complex rhyme patterns and super tight bars make for a great show. None of the hip hop clichés here, this isn’t about big shows, gold and bling, it’s about good music. And unlike many hip hop shows, Marlowe sound as good live as they do on their records…

And what I meant above about it not being a bad thing that Marlowe seem to fly under the radar, is that it feels like the perfect size room, it feels like Brigham is addressing each and every one of us at some point, his chat is on point and he seems to be enjoying the show as much as us, and that’s something I feel is often lost in bigger venues.

There are songs from all three albums this evening and although we keep getting asked if its ok to perform another new track, going by the reactions, I think everybody in here has listened to it a dozen times already and the energy carries from each track to the next as if people already love their recently released new record.

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The boat really gets bouncing when they drop the second from last track “Honest Living” it’s far from their most streamed song, but I’ve got an inkling it’s their most popular on this side of the pond, and it’s certainly the one that pricked my ears back in 2018.

I find it really baffling that Marlowe haven’t blown up yet and aren’t doing the bigger venue circuit, but at the same time, I’m pleased that we can still see them at smaller intimate venues like Thekla. So, if you haven’t got a ticket to see them on the remainder of this tour, I’d grab one while you still have a chance. You won’t be disappointed.

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