Greg Bruce is a weekend magazines writer for NZME.

Marlon Williams stuns Auckland RSA crowd

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New Zealand musician Marlon Williams. Photographed around Mount Eden Village 28 September 2015. Photo / NZ Herald
New Zealand musician Marlon Williams. Photographed around Mount Eden Village 28 September 2015. Photo / NZ Herald

Maybe someday soon Marlon Williams will be taken away by the international fame he deserves to sing around the world in big theatres, concert halls and even arenas, but it's hard to imagine any of them providing as perfect a backdrop for his dirty angelic voice as did the dated, low-ceilinged, heavy-curtained, cheap-boozed environs of the Pt Chev Memorial RSA.

"That voice" - a phrase that has attached itself to everything ever written about him, and which will no doubt attach forever more - filled that RSA with moments of rare power and beauty from the opener Come to Me through his modern classic Dark Child and the singalong beauty of his cover of Lennon's Jealous Guy.

That voice often seems bigger even than the man it's coming from and he's a decent sized man, although at least 60 percent of his mass must surely be cheekbones.

Some of the most beautiful moments of the night were when that voice worked through its vulnerability and emotional richness, as it did early on with Arahura and Lost Without You, but equally thrilling was when he stood in his fighting stance at the mic, guitar thrust out and unleashed the aggression of that voice on the big, happy rock of Vampire Again and Party Boy.

Singer Marlon Williams arrives at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards at Vector Arena on November 19, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo / Michael Bradley
Singer Marlon Williams arrives at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards at Vector Arena on November 19, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo / Michael Bradley

But it was during Portrait of a Man at the very end of the night, with his band bent forward around the drum kit, making furious noise with their instruments, while out front he leaned back almost horizontal and threw his voice direct at the ceiling not so far above him, that you couldn't help but go, "Wow, the Pt Chev RSA is not big enough for this talent."

- NZ Herald

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