Talking Heads, Southampton

Marco Mendoza

Western Sand started up the evening with a short but punchy set, beginning with “Better Days” they set out their stall as the Southern Rock band that they are, albeit it with a Brit twist.

The moody ballad “Broken Bones” brings to mind tumble weed, scorching noonday sun and it never fails to please. New boy Findlay Hotchkiss has settled in and he and Nathan Kaye are developing the powerhouse behind the guitars. The manic twin guitar solo in final song ‘Nothing To Lose’ is impressive as it is so rarely seen in bands these days, Jimmy Bradshaw and Tyler Hains have been playing together for a few years now and their connectivity shows in this song more than any other, they had the audience entranced, and Western Sand certainly left the stage with some new followers judging by the applause.

Western Sand
Voodoo Vegas started proceedings with “Mary Jane”, which to my mind is an odd choice as it lacks the “let’s get the party started” feel of an opening song, and probably suffered all the more for following Western Sands energised performance of ‘Nothing To Lose’. “King Without A Crown” is much more of an opener and this rocks along nicely into the “Ferry Song” which features Lawrence with a little blues harp. Nick Brown leads into the almost acoustic ballad “Lost Into confusion”. I’ve seen Voodoo Vegas a few times and I have to be honest and say this was not the best set I’ve seen them do, they seemed a little tired and the performance lacked sparkle. However things picked up for their best song “So Unkind”, which is a league ahead of the rest of the set for memorability with it’s catchy riff and melody. If they produce more songs of this caliber it could carry them along the rocky road to success. They finished up with the suitably scrappy “Jimmy Silver” and invited the audience to join them for their album launch at The Talking Heads on November 23rd Tickets available here.

Voodoo Vegas
Voodoo Vegas 123456

Marco started the evening by casually wandering on to the stage with his coat on and a request for a safety pin as he had “bust the button on his pants”. Having duly found one he took his coat off and launched into “Let the Sun Shine” a smooth opener laid back opener with a slight Thin Lizzy feel to it. This was followed by a funked up up version of Ted Nugent’s “Hey Baby” giving Great Dane Soren Anderson a chance to flex some soloing muscle. Marco clearly loves these small intimate gigs, he bounced around the stage like Tigger on blue Smarties. The in between song banter was a stream of consciousness interspersed with his infectious high pitched, maniacal laugh, all while throwing picks into the audience and intermittently leaping off the stage to kiss people. “Hole In My Pocket” has more groove than a groove thang with scatting and feel synonymous with Glenn Hughes, the comparison being obvious as Soren is Mr Hughes guitarist of choice when in Europe. Marco hands over vocal duties to Soren for a rendition of the “day job” band, Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak” then slows proceedings down for a the heartfelt ballad “Still In Me”.

Following a lively discussion about what to play next Marco decided to “go heavier” and they launched into “Lookout for Da Boys”, another groove laden song that allows full use of Marco’s vocal range from smokey dark tones to full throttle scream some very fine guitar work from Mr Andersen and a drum solo from the tub thumping Mark Cross. This is a band that only got together for these dates and Marco admitted to arriving at the venue early so they can rehearse, but thee are three very accomplished musicians, clearly having fun and enjoying a musical journey of discovery with each other. They finally left the stage but an encore was a given and they were straight back on with an elongated version of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground”. Marco then did a meet and greet where everyone was greeted like an old friend, although clearly several were, and each one was sent away with a hug, a kiss, CD or autograph, one thing you can say for certain, when you go to see Marco Mendoza you certainly get value for your quid!

Marco Mendoza

Marco Mendoza 1234

Set Lists
Western Sand
Better Days
Welcome to the Badlands
Broken Bones
A Place I Call Home
Nothing to Lose

Voodoo Vegas
Mary Jane
Tied Up
King Without A Crown
Ferry Song
Lost In Confusion
So Unkind
Jimmy Silver

Marco Mendoza
Let The Sunshine
Hey Baby
Letting Go
Hole In My Pocket
Still In Me
Look Out For Da Boys
Your Touch
In My Face
Higher Ground


Band Links

Review and Pictures By Helen Bradley Owers.

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