Step by step, Mark Kingswood is feeling his way and his short, 3-date tour at the end of February confirmed the promise that here is a massive star in the making. With a second album in the pipeline and a longer tour announced for the autumn, 2020 is set to be a big year for the man who wants to redefine the art of crooning.
Following his brief 4-date stint supporting Jools Holland last year, Mark featured on BBC Radio 2 bringing him to a wider audience. For many who heard those radio plays, this headline tour will have been their first chance to catch Mark in the flesh. And, judging from the audience reactions, they were not disappointed!
The tour, which included a sell-out show at London’s Leicester Square Theatre before taking in Birmingham and Manchester’s Stoller Hall. Opening with Velvet Touch, a classy original number form his debut album Strong, he quickly upped the tempo to Rock This Town.
Mark is equally at ease across all musical genres. “When I was putting the set list together I picked songs that I thought would appeal to everyone, some that might make people laugh and cry,” he said, adding “You can’t be a modern day crooner without remembering the past,” as he introducing the swing standard Ain’t That A Kick In The Head.
Of course, Mark’s golden tones and musical style will always draw comparisons with others, and one in particular. “For me,” he quipped, “one name keeps cropping up time and time again. I’ll admit it, I do sound a lot like Michael… Jackson!” he laughed and broke into a quick verse of Billie Jean before the band – Dominic Barlow (piano), Todd Knapp (drums), Matt Isaac (guitar) and Andy Hodge (double bass/bass guitar) – switched to another classic, Feeling Good.
With his easy manner, Mark’s chat to his audience has the feel of a one-to-one conversation as he acknowledged the influence of Michael Bublé and Harry Connick Jr in making his beloved swing music popular again. He then spoke about the joy of finally hearing himself on Radio 2 for the first time.
“Last summer I was in Montreal when I got a phone call to say I was going to be played on Steve Wright In The Afternoon. There is a big time difference but I had to hear it live, and this is what happened…”
The audience was played a recording of Mark’s single Strong being introduced by Steve Wright exclaiming “This is not Michael Bublé!” Mark shrugs and, he says, the same thing happened again the following day. Never-the-less, a great shop window for Mark’s talents and that would have been the first time many would have heard of Mark Kingswood.
Mark’s set showed off his great musical versatility, with his autobiographical I Got A Thing For Swing and Born Free, a tribute to one of his heroes, Matt Monro, the purity of Mark’s voice set against the delicate piano of his musical director Dominic Barlow. Similarly, Beautiful Child, a lullaby Mark wrote on hearing he was to become a dad, was a delightful and tender performance with Mark accompanied by Matt Isaac on acoustic guitar.
Time preview a track off his eagerly awaited second album and a very personal view of the importance of family and loved ones, ‘I would bleed Crimson for you if I had to do’, before closing the first set by paying tribute to the greatest crooner of all, Frank Sinatra’s My Way.
The second half of the show began in party mood, the classic Sway and the infectious, self-penned salsa number Dancing On A Monday had the hall on it’s feet as did Shut Up And Dance.
Mark also took time to thank Frank Devito, the Montreal entrepreneur who, after a charity event for terminally ill children, said he believed in Mark and offered him a record deal. Mark dedicated Let’s Make A Memory to the charity and to Frank.
The party continued with a rousing version of Jailhouse Rock and the set closed with a moving cover of REM’s Losing My Religion.
For his encore Mark returned with Strong, the song that had thrust him firmly into the spotlight and was given a standing ovation. He seemed visibly moved as it continued for some moments, even when he tried to speak and then recalled the story of a little boy. “Two or three weeks before Christmas there was a knock at the door and the news came that his father had been killed at work. That little boy was me.”
Mark continued by thanking his family for their love and support. “I grew up with the best step-dad in world,” he added before singing Eric Clapton’s Tears In Heaven as an emotional tribute to his father.
Finally, Mark remembered one of his great inspirations, a man who was equally at home with pop, rock, jazz and swing, performing George Michael’s One More Try.
A short but triumphant tour for a great singer who is sure to become a household name very soon and bolstered by the news that Mark is to return with a longer autumnal tour, hopefully supporting the release of his new album.
- Velvet Touch
- Rock This Town
- Ain’t That A Kick In The Head
- Feeling Good
- Stuck in The Middle
- I Got A Thing For Swing
- Born Free
- Mr Birmingham
- Beautiful Child
- Time Away
- My Way
- Dancing On A Monday
- Shine On
- Hallelujah I Love Her So
- Shut Up And Dance
- Let’s Make A Memeory
- Jailhouse Rock
- Losing My Religion
- Tears in Heaven
- One More Try
Mark Kingswood’s Autumn Tour 2020 will visit the following venues
|Tuesday 29 September||Cannock||Prince Of Wales Theatre|
|Thursday 1 October||Bury St Edmunds||The Apex|
|Saturday 3 October||Redditch||Palace Theatre|
|Sunday 4 October||Horsham||The Capitol|
|Tuesday 6 October||Milton Keynes||Stable Theatre|
|Wednesday 7 October||Carmarthen||Lyric Theatre|
|Thursday 8 October||Leeds||City Varieties|
|Sunday 11 October||Warrington||Parr Hall|
|Monday 12 October||Barrow||The Forum|
|Tuesday 13 October||Gateshead||Sage|
|Friday 16 October||Glasgow||Royal Concert Hall|
|Saturday 17 October||Dunfermline||Carnegie Hall|
|Saturday 31 October||London||Cadogan Hall|
For more information and tickets please visit https://markkingswood.com/tour/