Marah – 9.7.07 Philadelphia, PA, Johnny Brenda’s

Marah - Live at Johnny Brenda's 9/7/07

Marah – 9.7.07 Philadelphia, PA, Johnny Brenda’s

Certainly, songs and showmanship are important to any band when it comes to making it. However, more important is timing, luck and who gets behind your music. It’s unfair but a reality, just as it has never seemed fair how a truly incredible band like Marah barely even makes a blip on the radar. With their forthcoming Angels of Destruction, Marah will have released six proper studio albums, a slew of EPs, a DVD, a live album and a Christmas album in there somewhere. Yet outside Philadelphia, they are virtual unknowns. As Bob Hill recently pointed out in Crawdaddy when writing about Marah’s spiritual cousins, The Hold Steady:

There is no Lester Bangs to saddle-up alongside Lou Reed, no Landau to proclaim the future of rock ‘n’ roll, no William Miller to tell you Russell Hammond isn’t really the golden god he claims to be. There is only a watered-down wasteland of Web logs, anointing bands like the Cold War Kids and the Arcade Fire as the second coming. That type of atmosphere is the bane of great retro acts like the Hold Steady, Marah, and Jesse Malin.

While bands like The Hold Steady are perhaps now on their way to success and do suggest that great music can make it, Marah has been left behind, still playing the local circuit. And as usual, their first of two shows at Johnny Brenda’s found the band in top form. Most excitingly, their live set proved what everyone knew too, that without misdirected production values, songs like “Float Away” are forces to be reckoned with.

In the end though Friday Night, September 7, 2007 came and went at Johnny Brenda’s. And whether anyone ever recognizes them or not, that night Marah were gods and floated away with the best of them.

Click here to see photos from the show.

Quote taken from Bob Hill’s article “The Wild, The Innocent, and The Craig Finn Shuffle”, Crawdaddy, March 16, 2007.

2 thoughts on “Marah – 9.7.07 Philadelphia, PA, Johnny Brenda’s

  1. I seem to recall another promising young singer who wore his heart on his sleeve.

    And his name was Bruce Springsteen.

    Last I heard he was still toiling in obscurity as well.

  2. well, it WAS a different time for Bruce, U2, etc. I too, lament the fact, and I’ve heard others say this, is that we are beginning to forgo the ability to have a ‘shared experience’ with music anymore. (that is only the ‘boomer’ can still do this, the younger gens, not so much).

    We’re not just getting the American music market anymore, Marah now competes for attention worldwide, with bands from India, Japan, Korea, etc. despite what you think of the ‘quality’ of that music. There’s just so MUCH music now, good or bad – so MUCH competition for bands. With the American and British middleman/gatekeeper traditional music business in fade (e.g. Radiohead’s recent ‘direct-to-listener’ play – Bowie and Peter Gabriel had forseen this back in the early 80’s) Marah doesn’t have the ‘Big Machine’ (Joni Mitchell’s ‘star making machinery’ – which she obviously already disdained at that point) behind it like that music period of the 50’s-90’s. I agree, no Guralniks, Dave Marshes, no Landua’s, no Bangs and even Christgau was ‘let go’ from his long time LA paper, a victim of the changing times.

    Marah may well only ever achieve an audience of maybe – maybe – 1/2 million loyal fans…worldwide, not just in US. The may never sell out MSG or the O2 arena. For a recheck, see my other longtime faves Wilco and the Jayhawks for bands that ‘shoulda/woulda/coulda’ if the record biz had it’s head on straight, but also toiled in relative obscurity.

    Someone out there may be writing the next ‘Born To Run’, but they’re probably not American and they’ll probably not be recognized until they’re in their 40’s and at the tail end of their music careers, ready to head off into film producing or writing. Also, realize that the younger generations may not want to be a ‘musician for life’, like Bruce or Bono. They will probably switch careers at least three times before the age of 75.

    my $.02 for now…

Comments are closed.