Just yesterday, we returned after 4 days of camping and stomping around in the blazing heat and dirt at the Pickathon Music Festival in Happy Valley, Oregon. I still have a good 1,500 images to sift through and multiple more words than that to scrawl out chronicling our experience, but without going into too much detail prematurely, I can tell you now that one of the stand out acts of the weekend was New Zealand‘s Marlon Williams.
We had a chance to catch the musician/songwriter in Seattle back in January of 2016, a couple of weeks before his self-titled debut was released through Dead Oceans. By that time, however, the LP had already received a release in his home country and Australia in April of 2015. These things can take time to promote and gain traction, but his show was impressive and put him on our radar as an act to catch at this year’s festival. There was plenty to admire when we saw him the first time, but his appearance at Pickathon proved that he’s only gotten exponentially better and settled into his material even further, a full two years after it was originally distributed the public. His ability to craft a tune and deliver a compelling story is one of his strengths, but it’s his vocal delivery, most immediately reminiscent of Roy Orbison in its range and affecting delivery, that is the real show stopper. And while the material that we were already familiar with was presented with a new confidence and power behind it, we were also treated to all new material reflecting his continued evolution as an artist and a glimpse into his future direction.
One such track is a song called “Vampire Again,” and with it’s brand new video dropping today, it is the first new music that the artist has released since his debut. The following insight is provided by Marlon Williams regarding the song’s origin.
“The germination of this song began in LA last year. It was indeed Halloween again, and I was bored, having spent a week locked away in an Airbnb by the airport trying in vain to write a song. Any song. Nothing came. So Halloween comes around and I figure, “Hey, I’m gonna go out tonight. Alone. Comfortably alone. Comfortably alone to see the LA Opera performing a new score to accompany my fave scary flick Nosferatu at the Ace Hotel. I’m gonna dress as the spindly creep himself. What’s more, I’m gonna get super blazed before I go. And be comfortably alone.”
So, off I go, having spent far too much on a last minute outfit, and step out of the Uber and onto the red carpet with a nauseating air of self-confidence. “This is my night. I am strong. I am human and it is my right to express myself how I see fit.” Turns out I was running late, and when I finally enter the theatre everyone was already seated and the overture had begun. What’s more, no one else was dressed up. Well they were, but in tuxedos and lovely dresses. And there was nowhere for stoned ole spindleboots to sit. So, I hunched and crawled my way down the aisle and sat on the floor like it was the most reasonable thing to do at an opera.
I made it through the whole film and then calmly turned tail, satisfied that I’d had a good time and sure that I’d heard whispers of “bad-ass” as I left the building. I’d like to believe that this was, at least in part, the catalyst for a whole new period in my life and my art. But that’s bullsh*t.
Anyway, here it is, my own demented tale of New Age self-affirmation; “Vampire Again.”
Check out the video below, described in the press release as a “tragicomic vignette of a societal outcast” and directed by Williams himself in collaboration with UK cinematographer Steve Gullick. Then look below for a full list of current tour dates.
Purchase/Stream “Vampire Again” HERE
Marlon Williams Tour Dates:
Fri. Aug. 11 – Boulder, CO @ Triple A Festival
Sat. Aug 12 – Sun. Aug. 13 – Edmonton, AB @ Edmonton Folk Festival
Tue. Aug. 15 – St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant #
Wed. Aug. 16 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown #
Fri. Aug. 18 – Denver, CO @ Paramount Theatre #
Sat. Aug. 19 – Bellevue, CO @ Mishawaka Amphitheatre #
Mon. Aug. 21 – Kansas City @ Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland #
Tue. Aug. 22 – Springfield, MO @ Gillioz Theatre #
Thu. Aug. 24 – Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom #
Fri. Aug. 25 – Dallas, TX @ House of Blues #
Sat. Aug. 26 – San Antonio, TX @ Aztec Theatre #
Mon. Aug. 28 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues #
Tue. Aug. 29 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s #
Sat. Sep. 2 – Rutbeek, NE @ Tuckerville Festival
Tue. Oct. 24 – London, UK @ Omeara
Wed. Oct. 25 – Paris, France @ Espace B
Thu. Oct. 26 – Berlin, Germany @ FluxBau
Sat. Oct. 28 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ London Calling Festival
Mon. Oct. 30 – New York, NY @ Rough Trade
Wed. Nov. 1 – Toronto, ON @ The Drake
Thu. Nov. 2 – Los Angeles, CA @ Moroccan Lounge
Fri. Nov. 10 – Auckland, NZ @ Point Chev RSA
Sat. Nov. 11 – Welllington, NZ @ San Fran
Sun. Nov. 12 – Christchurch, NZ @ Blue Smoke
Wed. Nov. 15 – Sydney, Australia @ Oxford Art Factory
Thu. Nov. 16 – Melbourne, Australia @ Howler
Fri. Nov. 17 – Mullumbimby, Australia @ Mullumbimby Music Festival
# = with City and Colour