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Michelle Nevill. Pictures by Dutch Michaels

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marco mendoza

As I headed down to The Borderline on a Sunday night, I was really excited to see Marco Mendoza play his solo stuff. Yes, I have seen him play with Thin Lizzy, but his solo career is interesting to me as he does have a tendency to sway in and out of rock and spice things up with a bit of jazz and funk amongst other styles.

Tonight Marco is supported by Raw Glory, a blues/rock band that I would love to see again. Their set tonight was made up of Bad Company and Free covers and they were executed perfectly.

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Paul Manzi on vocals has got such a soulful voice. He makes a great front man and definitely delivers the songs in the exact way that they are meant to be performed. Cosmo (guitar) and Justin McConville (bass) delivered great performances, especially on 'Mr Big' and 'Be My Friend', both Free covers. Phil Martini (drums) never fails to miss a beat.

Raw Glory are incredibly talented musicians but I would have liked to see more originals from these guys in the set. I really liked them, they play with a groove that is undeniable, and I got lost at times which was really nice. Although, I think that had they played more original material I would have felt more satisfied. It would be nice to see them stretch their legs a bit.

Marco takes to the stage with fellow musicians, drummer Pino Liberti and guitarist Favio Cerrone. As Pino rhythmically starts to pound away on the drums, Marco steps forward with a bottle in his hand. "OK, we're gonna begin with some music from 'Live For Tomorrow', I brought a bunch of CD's so if you want one just stick around. We'll sign and we'll pose for pictures, we'll kiss you, we'll hug you, we'll touch you all over, just don't leave, alright!"

Marco turns and puts the bottle down towards the back of the stage, gives Favio the nod, before strumming away on his bass. He goes on to say: "This song is about our different situations in life, and no matter how dark the tunnel gets there's a light at the end of it right. So you can never give up hope, and when the shit gets hard, you get harder, you know what I mean? And when life starts beating you down, you get stronger. Let the Sunshine..." and he starts singing...

The guitars come in with a quite a sunny melody, Marco sings and also simultaneously starts shaking his hips. The song itself is what I would call a sunny song, lovely melody and good solid beats and bass. Marco's bass lines are extremely intricate and so interesting to see live. It's a real pleasure to see three such talented guys just rockin' out on stage. Marco is pulling some seriously funky moves and not to mention high notes. His range is quite something.

As I looked amongst the crowd, people were starting to bop away and there were smiles all round. It was a very happy vibe throughout the entire venue.

marco mendoza

Marco led into the next song, Ted Nugent's 'Hey Baby', and it goes down an absolute treat. The crowd swayed from side to side as Marco, Favio and Pino were clearly really enjoy playing. Marco has got some serious moves as he strums the bass whilst strutting on the stage. Great showmanship!

Next up is 'Live For Tomorrow', an original. It has a beautifully written guitar intro, again very upbeat and 'happy'. It's nice to feel such positivity through music. I know the crowd felt the same way as I did, as we all started dancing. As Marco sings "I'm gonna live for tomorrow", you can see, obviously, that he is very much in his element. His hips never stop moving! Never! A fantastic performance of a great song!

I can't help but feel disappointed that there isn't a bigger turn out but it is so great to see Marco, Favio and Pino in such an intimate venue. Marco's solo music is definitely a treasure to behold.

Before easing into a beautiful ballad Marco said; "Why don't we mellow out a bit? Is that ok with you guys?" The song is 'Still In Me'. It started with a nice Latin drum beat; the accents that Pino play are a great compliment to the beauty of the guitar riffs, let alone Marco's intricate bass lines. This song really allows Marco to show his vocal ability; his range is so wide. 'Still In Me' has that great late night feel, I am really grateful to be here and experience this.

As Marco switches his bass and refers to his black beauty as his 'girlfriend' he says: "This thing just plays itself." He goes on to play a tribute to James Brown in 'I Feel Good'. He says: "We came to England and I thought, let's rock it out, and keep rockin' it out and then I found out by Pino Liberti's request to play a little funk song, and everyone went bananas. You guys like funk stuff, yeah? Well too bad, we like it, we dig it and part of the reason why I'm here is to show you the other sides of rock and roll. I love rock and roll, I am playing with the baddest band ever, Thin Lizzy of course, but it's nice to taste some other varieties, you know what I'm saying? So this is a little something, a tribute to the one and only James Brown. Everyone feeling good?"

He plays a brilliant funk beat. I think it's a great thing that Marco is on a mission to educate as well as perform through his music. I think he is right and it's nice to dip your toe in the water and try new things.

Now, if anyone there wasn't into funk or motown, they would be after this song. It is a very original version of the song, the crowd starts to 'woop' and there is not a still person in the house. You all know the song so I am sure you can imagine exactly how well this went down.

Favio is such an outstanding guitarist and unleashes the funk beast throughout this song and really rocks it out with some fabulous riffs. This was a song in which the whole band could really stretch their legs and stray, just rock out. Pino does a great drum solo that is rhythmic genius. Marco during a slower pace hook even takes to some 'can can' style kicks whilst strumming a 'bad ass bass line'. What really strikes me is that afterwards, the band have a moment and all shake hands, which is fabulous to see.

marco mendoza

The entire gig goes on to completely rock my socks off. Not one track is lacking and all are performed and written brilliantly. Tonight has been an eye opener and something different to a typical rock gig; Marco is an incredibly talented bass man as you all know and to see him step outside the typical rock gig box was great to see and even better to experience.

Anyone that missed tonight's show should definitely kick themselves, as it was an incredibly musical experience. One that I will surely experience again when Marco and his band of extremely talented men come back! Thanks for a brilliant show guys!

Set List:

Let The Sunshine
Hey Baby
Live For Tomorrow
I Feel Good
Still In Me
Hole In My Pocket
Look Out For The Boys
In My Face



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