When Mark Morton unveiled his first solo record last year it proved to be only the start of his foray in to new ventures outside of his day job with Lamb Of God. Truly one of the architects behind the power, groove and brilliance of that band, Mark Morton has swapped the huge festival stages and arenas for intimate acoustic sets for this particular exploration in to alternative creative avenues. Watching a lot of Lamb Of God footage over the years, Morton always appeared to be the mild mannered shy one of the group but as proven tonight he's got a great bit of stage banter underneath all of that. At times it was quite touching - hearing Morton recount how nervous it made him seeing his name up in lights just outside The Underworld - more than any Lamb Of God show in front of tens of thousands - triggered an immediate warm reception from the crowd.
As far as the set-up was concerned, for this particular short run of acoustic dates, Morton drafted in vocalist Mark Morales (who features on one of his latest tracks from his new EP) and guitarist Joe Harvatt in a simple stage setting. Morales grew in to the performance as it went on - initially not delivering anything astounding but rather bursting out in spurts which escalated the level of applause which rippled across the venue between tracks. When the trio covered Pearl Jam's Black all three shone but Morales absolutely nailed it. Morton's controlled intricacy of the guitar translates brilliantly in to an acoustic setting and hearing him at times allow the other two to take the lead and roll with a more relaxed jamming style alongside them worked very well indeed. It was also interesting to hear some of the tracks from Anesthetic in this format especially when it's fair to say some of them actually sounded better stripped back.
Overall then, this was an enjoyable evening and we suspect this won't be Morton's final foray in to the acoustic setting. A musician through and through, Mark Morton is seemingly most at peace with a guitar in hand, whether that's through delivering riffs larger than Thanos' head or subtly and effortlessly strumming through melodies in this environment. Midway through the set Morton's confidence had grown and this unnatural lead delivered another touching story involving his very stripped back stage production. The candles which accompanied the guitars behind him were no longer shining bright, these were Christmas decorations he'd taken from his Mum's house back in Virginia shortly before travelling and had used them each night of the UK acoustic run. By the time they arrived in London they'd run their course, fitting considering this was the final night of the tour.