When I think of Coffee House Sessions, I think of a solo singer with an acoustic guitar, strumming away and singing a melodious tune. Past performances have reinforced this stereotype, but this was certainly not the case for the rather surprisingly odd man who took to the stage today.
A stunned silence descends upon The Bridge. Who is this guy? Is he drunk? “So that’s that one!” Mark Hole exclaims after the first song. A slightly shocked audience slowly clap, apprehensively, having just heard a five minute rapped track on which he cleverly looped backing vocals and beat boxing, but sang about smoking spliffs and “taking it up the arse like a whore.” However, his second song couldn’t have been further from it. Beginning with a cover of ‘Amazing Grace’ it soon turned into an emotional piano ballad, evidencing a deep and soulful voice and a definite talent. Questions arise once again, who is this guy? And what’s he trying to do?
“I’d like to dedicate this song to my brother. He’s driving me at the moment because I lost my license because of drink driving. And I’m dedicating this song to him, because I’m very jealous of him, because he had sex with Laura Marling, and I wish I had.”
Clever piano trills dramatise Marling’s ‘My Manic And I’ to make the track sound like a climactic musical theatre number. Forgetting the comments between tracks, it’s easy to like Mark Hole. This cover, and tracks like forthcoming release ‘People Change’ and previous single ‘Torture Garden’ showcase his real ability. With tender and bleak vocals, his music is well written and emotional, but unfortunately it’s difficult to find many likeable factors in his personality, and that’s all part of being a performance musician.
Mark Hole is trying to be some kind of strange, quirky, anti-lad, massive twat character. Being different is certainly commendable, but acting up isn’t. It’s not what anyone would have expected to hear in The Bridge on a Monday lunch time, but Mark Hole has a big career in front of him, as soon as he sorts out his unpleasant and unnecessary stage persona.