Bayou soul songwriter Marc Broussard asked for help, and Charlotte answered

 By Dan Cava

February 19, 2018

“I need y’all’s help with something,” Marc Broussard informed us from the stage of the McGloghon Theater last Saturday.

Broussard, it turns out, has a cousin in the Charlotte area who was in attendance at the show, and since the so-called Bayou Soul singer’s tour was stopping through the Queen City for the night, he was eager to show her a good time.

“So I need y’all to really show the love tonight and get down. Can you do that for me?”

Yes, Marc, we can. And thanks to you, we did.

Broussard hit the spotlight twice in the mid-2000s. First, his 2004 major label debut Carenco introduced his Louisiana-based, rootsy, funky, rockin’, R&B-laced Americana to listeners, and racked up a handful of hit singles in “Home,” “Rocksteady,” and “Lonely Night in Georgia.” Next, his follow-up effort S.O.S.: Save Our Soul (a cover album that compiles nearly a dozen revamped soul classics) cracked the Billboard Top 100, producing new versions of classic hits that stand beside the originals and showcase Broussard’s powerfully husky vocals at their best. 2007’s S.O.S. taught us what the next decade of solid albums would continue to bear out: this white boy can really wail.

With its assigned seating and tilted floor, the McGlohon must be a tough room for artists like Broussard, whose music is begging for a dance floor and an open bar. Indeed, aside from the usual smattering of boozy housewives who come to shows like this one to relive their college days, the concertgoers mostly saw fit to sit down through the show’s two brief but enjoyable opening acts, Peter Aristone and the Jamie McLean band. But whether by luck or by design Broussard’s setlist seemed perfectly calibrated to gradually lift the spirits and the seated posteriors of Saturday’s crowd.

The first part of the show borrowed from Broussard’s gentler, mid-tempo offerings. “Leave a Light On,” the lead-off track of both the night and Broussard’s latest album, Easy to Love, had a warm shuffle and gentle harmonies that fit the chilled out mood in the venue. “Come In From the Cold,” the one original song on S.O.S., followed suit with an easy groove and clean guitar jangles. Heads were bobbing, hands were clapping, but the Holy Ghost hadn’t moved yet.

But right around the one-third mark, Broussard told us about his cousin and asked for some extra juice. Then he pulled out a spot-on cover of Al Green’s “Love and Happiness,” and wouldn’t you know it, that Queen City crowd started to come alive. The song choice got funkier and funkier, from the bluesy grind of “Dyin’ Man” to the rowdy thump of the Isley Brother’s classic “It’s Your Thing.”

Suddenly, many hoots were being hollered and hips were shaking all over the auditorium. Broussard sang a ditty about aliens coming to earth to learn about funk, a fitting metaphor for the joyful transformation of the evening’s audience. Before long, members of the opening acts were joining Broussard on stage, in what seemed from the Broussard band members’ reactions to be an impromptu response to the good McGlohon vibes. By the time the night roared to a close with a funked-out version of “Home” and an encore rendition of “Rocksteady,” the whole place was up on its feet and had been for quite some time.

Marc Broussard came to Charlotte, he read the room just right, and with his airtight band and raspy shouts, he conquered. He showed us the funk and we showed him the fun.

“You showed my cousin how we do it around here!” Broussard shouted at the end, over the wild enthusiasm of the crowd. “Thank y’all so much!”

No, Marc. Thank you.

Check out the remaining 2018 tour dates for Marc Broussard.

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