So much has happened musically in Gaucín during the last few weeks: highlights include Cultural Week (with both Beauties & The Beast and Biagra rocking the plaza until the wee small hours) and the XIX Flamenco Festival. I missed it all but did arrive back in time for one of Marcus Myers’s gigs at the Chaparro bar on the edge of town.
Although the village seemed bustling with tourists, the audience was mostly expat and there were plenty of friendly faces to greet before settling down to watch Marcus play. He kicked off the evening with Mona Lisa which elicited such a round of approval before the night was even underway, that you knew the audience was his for the evening.
Marcus has a long musical provenance with roots in the Brighton Punk scene and a career in bands such as Midnight & The Lemonboys, Hard Rain, Then Jericho and Alisha’s Attic. He moved to Andalucía some years ago looking for a simpler life and is a champion of the area’s musical culture.
Marcus is always a pleasure to watch! An extremely talented musician, he has an adaptable voice and a versatile repertoire to match, moving seamlessly in style, key or chord across the genres.
During the course of three sets he led us from Cole Porter to The Eagles, Van to Bowie, Dylan to The Stones with the odd foray into Sinatra, The Beatles or Radiohead’s Creep.
At some point during the second set, people began to dance. A small group – assembled from an assortment of tables – unified in the sheer enjoyment of moving to the music. Visiting jazz singer Emma joined Marcus on stage for a powerful, if too brief, collaboration.
Marcus broke into the old Neil Diamond classic Sweet Caroline and the audience joined in for the chorus, arms aloft and swaying, with more than the hint of a cheesy grin playing across their lips.
By the start of the third set, a large table of twenty had left and the terrace had thinned out considerably. The atmosphere was distinctly mellow with the odd affectionate heckle from Marcus’ wife, Carmen. The waitress joined the dance floor towing a doe-eyed, raven-haired beauty no more than three years old, who enchanted the dancers as she faithfully copied the moves from the floor. It was quiet enough to let Gracie off her lead and she too joined the dancers, leaping and bouncing around the dance floor.
Marcus ended the evening with American Pie, as he so often does, and the last stragglers hummed along as they settled bills and gathered the troops. Thanks were proffered, goodbyes were said and we wandered down Calle Convento – the Convent still open for a function, the men outside smoking whilst through the open windows you could see the women clustered around the edge of the room chatting. After that, home was downhill all the way!