On Sunday evening, Mr. Big were showcasing their talents in the hometown of guitarist Paul Gilbert, just hours from Billy Sheehan’s Buffalo, NY roots. So, with the venues close proximity to the interstate and the turnpike, you can only imagine the size of the crowd.
For most shows, you’ll find two to three locals acts in place in efforts to fill the venue, but that was not the case on Sunday evening. Instead, Mark Daly & The Ravens performed to a packed house opening the show at 7pm and the venue parking lot was already full long before doors opened with a line of people posturing outside to get the best vantage point despite the rainy winter weather.
Irish rocker Mark Daly and his band The Ravens are no strangers to Jergels. In fact, they just visited back in September in support of Geoff Tate. The Ravens, who are James Brown and Cillian Plummer on guitar, Jack Ross on bass, and Danny Laverde on drums, do in fact have local roots as well with their drummer and their record label in nearby Ohio. However, the majority of the band hails from Ireland (and in Jack’s case, Scotland).
If you want to check out his new maxi-single “Drop Dead,” it is now available in follow-up to his successful EP Nothing to Lose. In exciting news, the band’s new album can be found in advance of its official release along with other cool merch including guitar string jewelry at their upcoming shows.
Their set included a few previews of material from the new album including a heavy hitter entitled “I Wanna Be More.” Other highlights included an older cut featuring frontman Mark Daly adding a left-handed acoustic guitar to the melody, entitled “Peace of Mind,” and another new song called “Better Off Alone,” that showcased the band’s punk influences with popping vocals, fast beats, and quick guitars.
Get the scoop at https://markdalyofficial.com and catch them on the road with Mr. Big on the select dates before those Ravens hit the road as part of Geoff Tate’s touring band as he embarks upon a co-headlining tour with Vandenberg following the Rock Legends Cruise.
Having just caught Mr. Big at Rokisland Fest we had a taste of what to expect when they hit the stage at 8:15 pm for a SOLD-OUT show on Sunday night at Jergels, but their performance exceeded our expectations by far. Sure, we got up close in the photo pit for three songs in Key West and got the action for our coverage, but this was a whole other level of BIG watching them from the front row and various other vantage points throughout the small local venue.
As you can see in our coverage, Eric Martin was literally in my face with his comic relief and was often pushing personal boundaries with fans (much to their delight), because there was no barrier stopping him from getting up close and in our business. Seriously, at one point he grabbed my arms and started shaking me, and I have no idea why. We could see the detail of Paul Gilbert’s pedal extensive petal board, and we found it challenging to fit the entire breadth of Billy Sheehan’s double bass in the frame of our camera. Oh, and speaking of big, can you believe the size of Nick D’Virgilio’s drum kit…
As they say, these guys are not know for doing things on a small scale…and the four page set list was far from small. They delivered a couple hours of hits like what we’d expect from an arena-sized show, and they even caught us by surprise a few times.
In addition to performing the entirety of their Platinum-selling 1991 album Lean Into It from start to finish as a featured highlight of the live setlist, we enjoyed some fun additions like a cover of “Shy Boy” by Talas and Billy Sheehan’s vocal debut on “Good Lovin'” by The Rascals, which gave us a rare opportunity to catch Paul on drums, Eric on bass, and Nick on guitar.
I had flashbacks to the Eric Martin Band’s hilarious instrument exchange last year at Rokisland and almost lost it as this fun experiment began, but enjoyed seeing Billy up front with a microphone and watching the band have such great fun. To close things out Eric Martin pushed us ‘old’ people out of the way as the band wailed on The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” so that he could sing the words ‘teenage wasteland’ into the eyes of a the young Isabelle who was flabbergasted when selected as his target.
It’s sad to think that after 35 years we won’t be hearing any new Mr. Big music, but we are pretty sure that this will not be the last that we hear from the members of the band. You can check out more photos and a recap from Rokisland with links back to our previous interviews with the band as well.
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You can also show your support by following us @ThePureRockShop on Facebook and Instagram. Watch for more festival coverage like Rokisland Fest as well as local shows including Metal Allegiance this past week, Lynch Mob, The Guess Who and Extreme early next month. And then, in March, we’ll be on the Monsters of Rock Cruise, and in May, you’ll find us at the M3 Rock Festival in Baltimore.