This past weekend from October 6th-7th at Pisgah Brewing Co in Black Mountain, NC, red-hot “psychedelic southern rock” stars The Marcus King Band hosted their first ever two-day festival, dubbed the Marcus King Band Family Reunion. In addition to two headlining sets from MKB, the event brought together an eclectic group of artists ranging from legends pushing 70 to youthful prodigies like King himself (the youngest, Brandon “TAZ” Niederauer, rounded out the low end of the spectrum at the ripe age 14). But age seemed to be of little importance at the Marcus King Band Family Reunion. All that mattered was whether your chops, and judging from the results, its clear that this inter-generational gathering of musicians meant business, top to bottom.
The “family” aspect of the inaugural Family Reunion event remained at the forefront of the festivities throughout the weekend, as guest sit-ins abounded. On Friday night, Marcus and company were joined by both Marcus’ father Marvin King (an acclaimed guitarist in his own right) and founding Allman Brothers Band percussionist Jaimoe for a pair of songs including a searing rendition of the Allmans’ “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed.”
The collaborations ramped up from there for Saturday’s jam-packed schedule, which featured excitedly-received sets from People’s Blues of Richmond, Muddy Magnolias, Ron Holloway Band, and more. Marcus came out to join The Revivalists’ Dave Shaw for his solo set. TAZ made good on his “Artist-at-large” billing, as he also came out to sit in with Shaw, as well as George Porter Jr.’s Runnin Pardners.
However, it was TAZ’s appearance with the host band that produced some of the day’s most memorable highlights. As Brandon said in a FB post ahead of the headlining Marcus King Band & Family set on Saturday evening (along with a photo of the two young guitarists), “It’s about to go down!!!! Getting ready to hit the stage with The Marcus King Band — Thank you Marcus King for inviting me to play with you and your band. I always hoped this day would come. #OneLove #BlessedBeyondMeasure”
The Marcus King Band & Family performance served as the weekend’s centerpiece, as the band had settled in and was playing at the top of their game. MKB also welcomed a slew of sit-ins over the course of the nearly three-hour long set, including a particularly memorable rendition of the Allmans’ “Dreams” featuring fiery back-and-forth between the King and Niederauer. Taz’s guest sit-in marked the first time these two young guitar luminaries had connected onstage, and the results were as entrancing as one might hope. With young talents like these two on the rise, the future looks bright for the craft of live music.