Live’n’loud: Mar­shall O’kell’s trib­ute to a great mate ...........

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY -

IN­FUSED with an hon­est beauty and raw emo­tion, Mar­shall OKell’s new al­bum, Birdy, is the prod­uct of a rather tough 2012.

OKell’s good mate, pro­ducer and some­times-col­lab­o­ra­tor Brian ‘‘Birdy’’ Bur­dett, died in a car ac­ci­dent. A few months later, OKell’s mu­si­cal and life-in­spir­ing fa­ther, Mar­shall Daw­son OKell, lost a long bat­tle with can­cer.

‘‘It was a huge roller-coaster that def­i­nitely had its low points. I guess the al­bum is a re­flec­tion of that year,’’ OKell says.

‘‘Birdy and I spent so many hours work­ing on the al­bum. I think we spent 25 days in the stu­dio to­gether.

‘‘A lot of time went into it, so it’s good to get out and show peo­ple what it’s all about.’’

The Len­nox Heads-based mu­si­cian says it was im­por­tant the songs were lyri­cally hon­est.

‘‘We re­fined and pulled the songs back heaps not to over­cook them,’’ he says.

‘‘There’s heaps of space. It’s not as heavy or rocky as the past two al­bums. It’s more groovy.

‘‘You can un­der­stand the songs and lyrics. It makes sense.

‘‘My other al­bums have been ev­ery­thing from reg­gae to heavy swamp rock. This one sits un­der the same rhyth­mic blan­ket.’’

OKell formed his first band, The Im­mor­tal Flames, when he was 11 years old. He spent his high school years play­ing Rock Eisteddfods and sup­port­ing older work­ing bands and has been a full-time, trav­el­ling mu­si­cian since 2006.

‘‘I usu­ally aver­age be­tween 170 to more than 200 gigs a year. It works out to about four nights a week.’’

Such a rig­or­ous sched­ule means OKell and his band pride them­selves on a rip­per live show.

‘‘Af­ter trav­el­ling so many (kilo­me­tres) to get there, we try to treat the gig with the right amount of re­spect. We dance around a lot and try to in­clude peo­ple. It’s lots and lots of fun,’’ he says. ‘‘We let the mu­sic go to that spe­cial place.’’

– ROSE SADLEIR

Mar­shall OKell, Tues­day’s Good and Fat Bud­dha Instinct play The Loft, on Chevron Is­land, on Satur­day night.

Mar­shall OKell (bot­tom right) and his tour­ing band.

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