On Monday night The Marcus King Band welcomed their legion of fans to the third installment of their groundbreaking Four of a Kind, Live From Nashville streaming concert series.
This time out the venerable Marcus King threw one of the biggest musical curveballs of the series by inviting Brent Hinds, lead guitarist for Atlanta, GA-based metal outfit Mastodon, to join him and his bandmates on stage in Nashville for what was likely one of the live music highlights of this entire global pandemic to date. “Rock Night,” featuring the Marcus King Band Trio in addition to Hinds, proved to be yet another example of how King continues to find extraordinarily inventive ways to bring live music to the masses throughout this unprecedented time in our history.
While many bands still find themselves struggling to pull the logistics together for even a singular, by-the-numbers type of live stream event, King has cobbled together a smorgasbord of musical delights over the course of these past three weeks that have been as gloriously resplendent, as they’ve been divergent in sonic approach.
Those who know King well are more than aware that you’re not likely to find bands such as Slayer, Lamb of God, Metallica or for that matter Mastodon, in the 24-year old’s iTunes library. However King, if anything, is a student of music and its endless extended branches that reach far beyond the musical palette he and his bandmates typically can be found playing live or recording themselves. Thus it should come as no surprise that King eventually found his way to another gifted musician in Hinds, even if this discovery came via a mutual friend in the form of Matt Hughes, owner and operator of Atlanta-based Banker Custom Guitars.
Hughes and Banker make hand-crafted guitars that continue to peak the interest of emerging artists such as King and Tyler Bryant, as well as established musical stalwarts that include the likes of Charlie Starr and Paul Jackson from Blackberry Smoke and others.
Asked how Hinds and King came to initially cross paths Hughes explained, “The first time the two of them met was at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta last November where Marcus was playing a holiday show with Coy Bowles, Starr, Peter Stroud, Benji Shanks, and Clay Cook.”
“I brought Brent [Hinds] along with me to see Marcus play that night and he was just blown away,” Hughes said. “Later that night I introduced Brent to Marcus and from there, I’ve just watched their relationship take off. It may not be a musical union that many would have envisioned but the two of them are undoubtedly kindred musical spirits.”
The Marcus King Band trio, which consists of King, drummer Jack Ryan, and bassist Stephen Campbell, makes a few scattered live appearances when the Marcus King Band finds some rare time off between their lengthy tour cycles. However, for many of King’s newer fans, Monday was not only likely the first time some of them had seen the MKB Trio in action, it’s safe to assume that a fair number of them weren’t completely familiar with some of the material they played.
Outside of one track off of 2018’s Carolina Confessions, “Welcome ‘Round Here”, every other Marcus King Band tune the trio tackled on the stage in Nashville on Monday night was lifted from their debut LP Soul Insight, their self titled sophomore release, 2016’s The Marcus King Band, or the band’s Due North EP that was released back in the fall of 2017. Based upon the sheer fire and brimstone King, Campbell, and Ryan attacked their early career material with I’m betting countless fans who only recently came across King’s music will be racing to the internet to get a hold of the Marcus King Band’s first few records as soon as they possibly can.
The first song of the night, “What’s Right”, off of the Due North EP, quickly announced to anyone watching the stream that this wasn’t going to be your run-of-the-mill streaming concert experience as it only took mere minutes before King showcased exactly the type of explosive guitar playing that has become synonymous with his live performances.
Not only has the Nashville-by-way-of-Greenville, SC guitar hero been using the remote concerts as a way to play and share live music again, he was wise enough to see the streaming format series as an opportunity to provide his fanbase with the kind of eclectic music choices that will draw them that much further into the Marcus King Band’s glorious musical spiderweb.
Perhaps more importantly, King and his bandmates are using the Four of a Kind live streams not as a revenue generator for themselves but instead, as an opportunity to help out the music community as a whole. King has ensured that all proceeds from the Four of a Kind shows will go directly to MusiCares. The multifaceted charity, headquartered in Santa Monica, CA, provides financial assistance, outreach, and addiction recovery services to the global music community throughout times of financial, personal or medical crisis.
By no stretch of the imagination was “What’s Right”, the only highlight from Monday night’s live stream. To be both fair and honest, the whole goddamn show was a highlight reel from beginning to end. “Virginia”, a staple of many of the Marcus King Band’s live shows both past and present, saw the band build up this slow sense of anticipation before King, and in particular, Campbell and Ryan, took the reins off to let the song run wild. About halfway through the track King grabbed a slide and segued into a brief breakdown of The Black Crowes‘ “My Morning Song” from the southern rock icon’s 1992 seminole classic, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion.
Again it was the rhythm section of Ryan and Campbell that truly shined throughout “Virginia”. Not only did the pair rise to the challenge of matching King’s intensity throughout the evening of music, there were more than a few notable instances where the drummer and bassist must have absolutely hypnotized the audience watching from home. That’s high praise considering it’s King who is often the focal point of any Marcus King Band live performance.
Another Marcus King Band old school track that the band pulled out of the rabbit hat Monday night was the booty shaking, “Booty Stank”, off of their debut record, 2014’s Soul Insight. Much like “Keep Moving”, also off Soul Insight and played later on in the set, “Booty Stank” is one of those songs that when played live, can rip even the laziest fan in the building right out of their seats and onto whatever makeshift dance floor they can quickly find themselves to.
King and his bandmates also took the time on Monday night to belt out a number of unique covers that surely had to leave those taking in the show via their various streaming devices grinning from ear-to-ear before Hinds joined the trio in Nashville for a few songs. The trio’s take on the Willie Dixon classic “I Just Wanna Make Love to You” included a breakdown of the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young protest anthem “Ohio”, while the bluesy musical journey King took the live streaming audience down as he delved into a blissfully soulful rendition of B.B. King‘s “Don’t Answer The Door” likely filled the hearts and souls of those watching from afar with feelings of love and unadulterated joy.
Many fans were likely hoping Hinds would play with King, Campbell, and Ryan for a bit longer than he actually did, however, the time metal guitarist shared with the trio onstage in Nashville proved to be nothing short of electrifying. It’s safe to assume that a decent percentage of the Marcus King Band fan base isn’t all that familiar with Hinds and the metal band the lead guitar player calls his regular home, Mastodon. However, Hinds is a true southerner, who like King himself, also has an affinity for all types of music that fall well outside of the boundaries of hard rock and heavy metal.
Hughes, again the owner and operator of Banker Custom Guitars who personally makes hand crafted guitar rigs for both King and Hinds, offered up some insight into the Mastodon guitar player’s musical DNA.
“Some people may not know this, but there’s a ton of country music influence in Brent’s playing. The guy can absolutely shred some Nashville style guitar licks, chicken pickin’, surf rock, you name it,” Hughes said. “Brent is also enamored with Marcus and his play style. He has a huge amount of respect for the fact that someone as young as Marcus has such a deep grasp and understanding of some very advanced guitar techniques.”
Hinds and King’s take on ZZ Top‘s, “Thunderbird” should have left little doubt in any Marcus King Band fan’s mind that the metal guitar player wasn’t a near-perfect musical match for King and his bandmates. As the guitar duo went back and forth onstage it became clear that both King and Hinds shared more than just a stage Monday night in Nashville, they share a musical bond that’s likely from this day forward, never to be broken.
Although the entire third night of the Four of a Kind concert stream was a raucous affair, ripe with jaw-dropping highlight after highlight, it was what the band had in store for for the final song of the evening that should have left most fans watching from home utterly speechless.
Any fan of Black Sabbath‘s music must have certainly recognized the very first chords of “Electric Funeral”, as they peeled off the strings of King’s and Hind’s duo Banker Korina Flying V’s, guitars Hughes had gifted the two prior Monday night’s performance. The Marcus King Band has played some of Black Sabbath’s music in the past, most notably a cover of “War Pigs”, the band will often perform to close out one of their own live shows occasionally.
However, no one on planet Earth and I mean no one, has ever seen or heard Marcus King crank out the kind of evil metal riffs that made “Electric Funeral” one of the most influential hard rock and metal songs of all time. Watching King and Hinds trade Black Sabbath licks while going full on dark metal for the night’s swan song may go down as one of the most unique and explosive live music performance of 2020, live stream or not.
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Last night was EPIC yall! 💥 Thrilled to have shared the stage with the legend @bhinds of @mastodonrocks! If you missed last night, ALL performances from Four of a Kind are available to watch on-demand after they air until August 11. There’s still time to get tickets at link in bio.
Fortunately, Monday night in Nashville will not be the final time music fans will have the opportunity to take in one of King’s bombastic live shows. The Marcus King Band will take the stage in Nashville one final time next week for a recreation of The Band‘s iconic The Last Waltz performance. King and company will once again be joined by the incredibly talented Maggie Rose alongside Jennifer Hartswick, Devon Gilfillian, Nicki Bluhm, Elizabeth Cook, Sierra Ferrell, Early James, and IDA MAE for the performance.
For everything Four of a Kind related, including show tickets, exclusive merchandise, one-of-a-kind guitar auctions and even virtual meet and greets with King himself, click here.
Marcus is also auctioning off some gear from Orange Amplifiers to help raise funds for MusiCares as part of Four of a Kind. For details or to enter the auction, head here.
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NEW RIG UP FOR AUCTION 🚨 The Gutshot Bass Rig includes a @fender Player Precision bass SIGNED by @realmarcusking, @Orange Terror Bass Amp, a @jhspedals pedal, and @ernieball strings! Procceds of the auction go to a good cause – @musicares. Get your bid in and good luck! Link in bio.
Setlist: Marcus King Trio | Camp PGP | Nashville, TN | 7/27/20
Set: What’s Right, Never in My Life (Mountain), Virginia , Honey, Stratus (Billy Cobham), Cherie Berry > 25 or 6 to 4 (Chicago) > Gloomy Sunday (Billie Holiday), Don’t Answer the Door (B.B. King), Dyin’, I Just Want to Make Love to You (Willie Dixon), Had to Cry Today (Blind Faith), Keep Moving > A Change Is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke), Grinnin’ in Your Face (Son House) , Welcome ‘Round Here, Thunderbird (ZZ Top) , Electric Funeral (Black Sabbath) 
 Teased “My Morning Song” by The Black Crowes
 Teased “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young
 a cappella
 w/ Brent Hinds