Mark Mallman kicks off his Marathon 3

Categories: Local Music
Photo by Erik Hess
Mark Mallman kicked off his third marathon performance at the Turf Club at 4 p.m. on Thursday afternoon to a small but intent crowd and several video cameras (watch the live stream online here). Gimme Noise will be checking in on Mallman as he attempts to play for 78 hours straight, and you can follow our play-by-play of the marathon's most memorable moments right here.

Yep, it's live blog time.


4:00 p.m. Ian Rans introduces Mallman as he launches into the first section of his lengthy song. The first chapter is dubbed "Giant Wave," a theme Mallman will loosely adhere to with his lyrics and song structures for an undeclared amount of time. Mallman is joined on stage by Tony Najm (New Century Masters) on guitar, Brett Sawyer on bass, and his longtime touring drummer Aaron LeMay.

4:10 p.m. Rans asks if I was at any of the previous marathons, and I tell him this is my first. "I was at the first one. This is the one that scares me, though. 78 hours is a long fucking time."

I ask him what will happen if Mallman stops playing or can't make it through. "I don't think anyone has even considered that," he says. "Which says a lot. Everyone thinks he'll do it. He might be fucked up on the other end, but he'll do it."

4:17 p.m. Mallman sings: "I'm just getting settled in... it's a long road for a man to walk..."

4:28 p.m. Turf Club manager Dave Weigert is pacing the room, making sure things are running smoothly. I ask him if he's staying the whole time, and he laughs. "No. I'll probably be here 15 or 16 hours a day." He says that Mallman has a big support staff who will be rotating in for the duration of the performance, and that everyone has a very "Zen-like" attitude about the whole ordeal.

4:30 p.m. Mallman stands up and the tempo builds, while he addresses the audience in song. "Sometimes you will see me throughout the course of this eating a sandwich," he sings, "Sometimes you will see me throughout the course of this eating a steak... but only I will really see me through the course of this. This is the beginning of the marathon."

5:09 p.m. The first band changeover happens fairly smoothly, and Mallman is joined onstage by longtime bassist Sean Hoffman. When introducing Sean, Mallman turns to Sean and asks, "A lot of people have been asking, How will he do it? How will he do it? What do you say?"

"Satan," Sean replies, without missing a beat.

"There will be no satan on this stage," Mallman says. "I defeated him in Marathon 2."

It's hard to believe that the hourly changeover of band members will happen 76 more times before this is finished.

5:25 p.m. Charles Gehr of Pink Mink is called to the stage to take over drums for Aaron LeMay. LeMay played for the first first hour and a half straight, and will be back for more shifts later on. LeMay says he felt "haggard" after he hit the one-hour mark -- the overnight players will sit in for 10-hour stretches while the bar is closed.

5:44 p.m. Things are getting weird now. Mallman stands up and directs the band into a breakdown, then starts fiddling with his computer and creating a whirring noise that sounds like a theramin. As if on command, a long haired man at the front of the bar gets up and starts juggling.

Sorry about the lack of visuals here -- the internet at the Turf is spotty, but photographer Mike Minehart has offered to share some of his shots with the blog later this evening. I'll post those once I'm on a more stable connection.

5:46 p.m. Mallman is howling like a wolf. Literally. Hell yes. Most epic jam so far.

6:05 p.m. That last hour passed quickly. LaFreak from All the Pretty Horses, Al Weiers from Communist Daughter, and Phil Redmon are sliding into place, and the electro slow jam is starting to ramp up into a more guitar-heavy rock song. "The marathon just began," Mallman sings. "I thought for a second it was the end. No, no, no, the marathon just began."

6:10 p.m. "I'm going to take my first bathroom break!" Mallman announces, then slips into the hall behind the stage while the band wails away.

6:28 p.m. The music is veering into blues-rock now, with Mallman playing organ and Weiers coaxing some sweet melodies out of his gold guitar. Mallman: "It's 6:30, let's go to the 6:30 chords. F, F, G, C." The band follows suit. "Al, give me a solo in C major!"

6:45 p.m. Mallman is holding a skull up in front of his face and making its jaw move up and down to the lyrics. The music behind it is brooding and heavy, making the tiny singing skeleton head oddly hilarious.

6:59 p.m. Lyrics: "The mind can accomplish what the body can't deliver." As the band starts to change over, Mallman addresses the crowd, apologizing for the slow tempo of the last half hour. "We're three hours in, people. I'm sorry to bore you, but I've gotta keep my pace. The lyrics dictate that I must take it slow."

It's starting to become clear that every minute of his performance is meticulously planned out -- when to switch to new chord changes, when to bring the tempo up, when to let his band do the heavy lifting while he hangs back and rests.

7:01 p.m. I wasn't planning on being here for such a long stretch of time right off the bat, but I'm having trouble leaving. This might sound strange or hyperbolic, but it feels like we should all be here, experiencing this. It's like when someone you know is running a race, or having a baby, or playing their first show -- the rest of the world just fades away and it becomes acceptable to put reality on hold for a second and just be in the moment, celebrating or communing or just, you know, being present for the first time in days. I don't want to leave him, for some reason. I don't want him to reach a point where everyone goes home and people fall asleep and he's just alone here, fighting through this madness.

7:24 p.m. Second bathroom break. Mike Brady holds it down on guitar.

7:42 p.m. After another heady, organ-heavy jam, Mallman shakes his head. "What just happened? That was hot! It was some kind of Doors place, man. It was like a better doors. It was like revolving doors in a space movie, they open on their own. I think so." He picks up the tiny skull head and moves its jaw to speak on his behalf. "I think so."

7:50 p.m. We have our first photo of the marathon! Thank you Erik Hess.

Photo by Erik Hess

7:59 p.m. This hour is nearing its end and the band is peaking at one of the most energetic points of the performance so far. Mallman is pacing around the stage, jumping up and down like he's starting at the beginning of the show all over again.

8:01 p.m. Talked to event producer Chris Strouth. He says over 1,000 people have watched the performance via video feed so far. "Mallman's going viral!"

8:05 p.m. Freaky Scarborough Fair jam.

8:23 p.m. Brown Moses is backing Mallman on stage, and it's veering into jam-band territory. Jake Hanson of Halloween, Alaska is on guitar and there's a live beatboxer on stage, though it's hard to hear him in the mix.

8:31 p.m. Mallman is standing on top of his keyboard and singing, a move that would normally earn him cheers from the crowd. Instead, the small audience is just staring at him, glazed-over. "I'm feeling it!" Mallman yells. "There must be 4,000 people here tonight. 7,000 people. 8,000 people, I feel so good! Why is that guy just standing there? Why are you just standing there? We're playing fucking good music!"

Here's a close-up shot of Mallman's keyboard, where he has written motivational phrases for himself on pieces of tape. "PACE YOURSELF." "MAKE ART -- HAVE FUN."

Photo by Erik Hess

8:44 p.m. I don't know what Jake Hanson is doing to his guitar, but I keep thinking there is a saxophone on stage. Mallman is scatting and rapping like a beat poet while the band changes up the groove. "Something ethereal is in the air. Maybe some of you can see it, maybe some of you cannot see it. But history will see it. It's coming through, it's coming through. It's triangular."

9:02 p.m. Bill Mike just got on stage and he is OWNING IT. The Turf Club just turned into the sexiest place on Earth. I've written this before, but I honestly believe Bill Mike is one of the most talented guitar players in the city. Seriously. It's ridiculous. Two minutes in and he's taken control of the room and flooded it with some damn good energy. The whole performance is pulsating with a new vitality, and I love it.

9:13 p.m. The band is whipping up a maelstrom. "It's gonna get real weird," Martin Devaney tells me. He's played a marathon in the past and will be sitting in tomorrow afternoon. The energy is continuing to build, and more people are filing into the bar. "I am the center of a hurricane," Mallman says, and then tells one of the event producers to write down all the players names on stage (Bill Mike a.k.a. Mike Michel, Danny Sigelman, Tal Tahir, and Sarah Huska) because he's having such a blast playing with them.

9:27 p.m. Despite my earlier feeling that I MIGHT NOT EVER LEAVE, I have decided to peel myself out of this booth and head home for the night. Danny Sigelman (who is drumming with Mallman right now) will be posting a summary of his experience on Gimme Noise in the morning, and we will resume live-blogging with a new post tomorrow afternoon.

For the time being, however, sate yourself with these fantastic photos by Erik Hess. Thanks to Erik for his contributions! It's folks like Erik and Danny who will help us run this relay race alongside Mallman and bring you the play-by-play of this historic local event.


Photos by Erik Hess

If you're interested in picking up a stint of the live-blogging marathon, send an email to


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