On the inaugural night of his solo tour, Dom Martin graced the stage of the ornate Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh, offering a soul-stirring solo performance that transcended mere entertainment to become a captivating journey through the realms of blues, folk, and heartfelt storytelling.

Words: Colin Campbell    Pictures: Scott Anderson

This was a listening experience par excellence, always good to see a seated venue and a rapt audience waited in anticipation. Those people who have not experienced seeing this phenomenal artist in such an intimate setting are missing out, go and see him if and when you can it is something to behold a wonderful live experience and a feeling of connection throughout.

As I entered the intimate confines of the Voodoo Rooms, anticipation crackled in the air. The venue’s dimly lit ambiance set the perfect stage for an evening of musical introspection, including illuminated disco ball making this an even more intimate experience. Dom Martin emerged, his presence commanding yet humble, armed only with his guitar and a treasure trove of life experiences to share.

For this show he stood tall throughout his amazing set, changing chord notation on nearly every song and there was just a feeling of joy throughout his vocal delivery and quips about the songs he chose. Ben Graham his bass man in the band trio joined him for a few songs, the first time they had played together unplugged as it were.

Ben’s a beast on the bass and they have such a chemistry together, a great combination. From the moment his fingers met the strings, Dom’s virtuosity became evident. His guitar work was nothing short of mesmerising, effortlessly weaving intricate melodies that danced between sorrow and elation.

Each note seemed to resonate with raw emotion, echoing the trials and triumphs of the human condition. He played some songs from his newest album, Buried In The Hail and some other originals including a new song, Haunted, as yet unrecorded, an ethereal feel to the lyrics and outstanding guitar playing as always. Starting with The Fall, he warned the audience, “The mistakes are free,” no danger of this as it sounded pretty perfect throughout the performance.

This was his hardest song to play so got it out of the way first! He paid homage to an influencer John Martyn on the intricate tuning to Jelly Roll Baker, just an outstanding delivery to this. Likewise, his vocals and intricate guitar playing made Easy Way Out segueing into Belfast Blues an absolute showstopper much appreciated by the audience.

Dom’s voice, weathered and soulful, served as the perfect vessel for his poignant lyrics and on Hell For You, Ben was introduced on bass, a wonderful introductory chord notation filled the venue with gusto. This segued into the song, Mercy seamlessly and the interplay between the two artists was astounding. Whether delivering heartfelt ballads like The River or gritty technically amazing blues rock styles, on 12 Gauge, his vocals carried an authenticity that resonated deeply with the audience. With every lyric, he invited us into his world, painting vivid portraits of love, loss, and redemption. An example of that being Dog Eat Dog which he dedicated to Audrey Parsons from team Dom and thanked Fenton also earlier who did a sterling job as M.C!

Throughout the evening, Dom displayed his versatility as a musician, seamlessly transitioning between genres with finesse. He kept the audience on the edge of their seats, hanging on his every word. Crowd participation noted during Daylight I Will Find, Dom and Ben played off each other well a bromance of blues perhaps, they were having such fun and were very entertaining on this upbeat tune. It was last song time, and when you have a song like Dealer in your repertoire you cannot go wrong, duelling guitars guttural vocals strong and solid playing, the dynamics to this and other songs are heartfelt, and the musicianship is excellent. Mere words cannot explain what a talent Dom Martin is! Amidst the musical virtuosity, it is Dom’s sincerity and vulnerability that truly stole the show. Between songs, he shared intimate anecdotes and reflections, inviting us into the inner sanctum of his creative process. As the final notes faded into the ether, the audience erupted into thunderous applause, a testament to the profound impact of a memorable performance. For a fleeting moment, time stood still, and we were united by the universal language of music. More than just a concert; he crafted an unforgettable experience that transcended the boundaries of space and time. As we spilled out into the cold Edinburgh night, hearts full and spirits lifted, it was clear that we had borne witness to something truly extraordinary.

The support act for the evening was Demi Marriner. She played a stirring set mixing Americana style tunes with her own twist. Standing on stage solo with a guitar, no safety net of being with a group she was outstanding and sure to be more recognised after this performance. Mostly know her with her collaborations with Elles Bailey, whom she has supported before as well as being in her band.

This was her turn to shine and yes from the start to finish mixed humour between the songs and introductions, but her vocals and song delivery were impeccable. Also, a very accomplished guitarist. Adorned with Cowgirl hat she really has great charisma and stage presence, and was appreciated by the audience, a great performer.

She opened with Sins, a bluesy tinged number, showing a good vocal range. Lyrically excellent her next tune, Distorted Desires takes on new meaning about loving who you want to love regardless, a very haunting ethereal song very atmospheric. A very confident singer, on One Way Conversation she excelled with poignant guitar tones and storytelling, new song, Best Of Me was upbeat with anthemic chorus, enjoyed by the audience, co-written with Elles Bailey but unrecorded, very brave but a very good song. Another highlight was Think Of Me.

The introduction to God No Evil told the story about someone so bad they could not get into heaven or hell and had to live for thousands of years, a soulful tune with an excellent guitar solo. Good Guy Act had a country style vibe with testifying lyrics, and another well delivered vocal. She finished with Little Boy a sweet mid-range tune, highlighting her vocal tonality, great chorus, very good songwriter. A confident performer, she has style and swagger, a perfect opening act, one to watch out for, superb.