||KEE MARCELLO SHINES IN THE RAYNES
Kee Marcello: Cavern Freehouse, Raynes Park, London
21st September 2016
Renowned lead guitarist for Europe during their 90s heyday and impressive solo artist, Kee shone in the Raynes of south-west London during a fine extended warm-up show for his recent tour.
He's best known as the key player for countdown champions Europe, after six-string predecessor John opted to ignore 'em. Caught between a soft perm and a hard place, his Marcexit in 1992 following a five year tenure, coincided with the start of what became a ten year hiatus for the band.
Fast forward to 2016, the original European line-up has been restored, ploughing a more sophisticated, darker, bluesier furrow than before, whereas Kee has been nurturing his own career as a notable solo artist with four releases of increasingly depth and quality.
Following a well-received one-off set at Hard Rock Hell in 2014 and a blink-and-you'll-miss-it show at the Camden Underworld last year, 2016 has seen him intent on scaling-up his profile with more extensive tour dates and promotion of his latest album (reviewed here). This included a warm-up show in south-west London at the Cavern Free House, a longstanding and much-loved community hub for live music which proved to be an inspired choice. It was a real treat seeing a musician of such international renown playing and singing his heart-out in such intimate surroundings to such an engaged and appreciative crowd.
Such was the mutual love respect between artist and audience, we were treated to an extended 100 minute set of mesmerising quality and momentum evenly split between solo and Euro tracks. It's clear from the outset that Kee's signature precise and dexterous lead guitar style is as potent as ever. What's also notable is the underlying melody and finesse in his playing that appears effortless, but sounds devastating, 'Prisoners In Paradise' outtake 'Here Comes The Night', being a great example.
Equally impressive was his top-notch band including longstanding cohort Ken Sandin on bass and local boy Darby Todd providing real percussive flair to the songs. He may lack the melodic croon of tempestuous Joe, but I found that Kee's strong gritty voice suited the rocked-up Europe songs, like 'Girl From Lebanon' and 'Seventh Sign' rather well, and with the Cavern in full and fine voice, he had plenty of back-up.
On the strength of this performance, I've no doubt that Kee'll be back soon. May the countdown begin.
Black hole star
Half Way To heaven
Dead End highway
Dog Eat Dog
Get On Top
We Go Rocking
Here Comes The Night
Rock The Night
Girl From Lebanon
The Final Countdown