Alright, you’re going to have to forgive typos and such, because I’ve been awake for a very long time at this point. Sooo long. I just need to write briefly about a man named Marques Toliver. He entered my life tonight at the Liam Finn show I went to (which I will blog about Sunday). Maybe you already know who he is, my lovely, wildly intelligent friend Hilary already knew who he was, so perhaps I’m the last to the party. And he has been around for a few years now, ever since Kyp Malone saw him playing a subway platform in Brooklyn and got the same feeling I got at the Liam Finn show.
However, I don’t think I am the last one to the party, because the general feel before the show was that people there for Liam Finn had no idea who Marques Toliver was.
Anyway, there was a time, several years ago, when I went to see David Bazan live. It was the last show at the old Crocodile Cafe (a legendary Seattle music venue) before they closed it, which was before someone saved it and redid the inside and made it preeetty awesome. Before David played, he had two local opening acts. There was a guy from a local band who played first. The band wasn’t there, it was just the lead singer and a guitar playing stripped down versions of songs that would eventually be on the band’s album, months later, when it was finally released. Before the end of the first song, the atmosphere in the room changed. The whole crowd was drawn forward, the normal opening act chatter abruptly ended, and we all hung on every note, as Robin Pecknold performed the songs that would make up the first Fleet Foxes album. Hearing him perform, I knew that eventually everyone was going to know this guy’s music. It wasn’t long before they were indie darlings taking the world by storm.
Until tonight, that was the only time I’ve ever felt that strongly about an act so quickly. Being absolutely certain that this was something new, and that people were going to respond to it. Marques Toliver made me feel that way again, at The Tractor Tavern in Ballard.
He got up on stage, all skinny and quiet, and started playing with a violin and a looping machine. I thought, ‘Hey, just like Andrew Bird.’ Then, when he was done checking levels, he started his first song. That’s when his voice came in, and I thought, ‘Holy shit, it’s actually like Andrew Bird and John Legend had a sexy, singing baby, and through some form of time travel, he is now all grown up.’ (No, really, that’s exactly what went through my head, I think weird shit like that all the time.) He was amazing. The crowd fell in love quickly, and he even got a real encore.
He combines poetic lyrics, Kid Cudi/hipster style, classically trained violin prowess, and a velvety soulful voice. You should remember his name. Here are some videos I implore you to watch. There will be a quiz. (Also, if you’re attracted to men, try to keep your brain from exploding at his sheer sexiness).