What's Hot: A Review of Live Music in Key West

Marcus Dagan--- Killing You Softly
Key West THE NEWSPAPER March 25, 1994       page 10                                      By Valerie Ridenour

I experienced something 'most unusual last night. I watched and listened to a performer who
falls outside the norm for Key West musicians. Marcus Dagan uses some very strange timing, often skipping bars of music or changing phrasing of familiar Songs that causes bits to be dropped from the mathematical system we call musk. The strange thing is that this created absolutely no displeasure ; in fact, it actually added to Dagan's powerful mystique. Marcus Dagan is not a piano playing singer, he' s a cabaret act of the highest quality. Although his key­board playing is more than adequate for self accompaniment, it's his voice that will make you come back again and again.
I knew something intriguing was going on when I saw customers waiting for' Marcus with their requests... before he even arrived.
The venue is 'Flagler's in the gorgeous Casa Marina. The white Young Chang grand sits in an alcove close to the bar in the gracious dining room. The set began slow and easy and
with "Someone To Watch Over Me," . begun with an almost recitative verse followed by a very subtitle rhythm from a digital drum machine played at an almost subliminal volume.
Marcus' interpretation sounded smoky and intimate, a great beginning of a performance that grew in intensity with every song.

Dagan chooses a repertoire that swings from Broadway to Tom Waits.
His patter is comic and charming. Marcus announced that he would do "an unusual kind of song." "Sweet Kentucky Ham" is exactly that, a sad road tune that seemed to be aimed directly at me. Odd song combinations really work for Marcus, whose medleys combine
Noel Coward and Tom Waits, as he says 'from the urbane to the urban: Marcus is urbane. You feel more like you're watching a performance from a Broadway stage than from a lounge.

New Yorker Dagan is a theater veteran, and his "That's AII I Ask Of You" from Phantom of the Opera was mesmerizing. If I had to make a comparison to another singer I would say Marcus is a bit .like Neil Diamond, emotional, intimate, personal. His crowd has its favorites like "Cocktail Time" and "Once Upon a Time", after which a customer called out, "Oh Marcus, you break my heart!".

I was most impressed by a Marcus Dagan original, "Five Step Tango" which begins with "I like the atmosphere of a minor key."
Ask for this one. This is the best lyric I've heard in years: A bouncy version of the classic, "The More I See You" thrilled the very mixed crowd whose ages ranged from early twenties to late Seventies. Marcus has a following who fill the lounge area, and Casa food and beverage manager Tom Paine 'pays him the ultimate compliment from the managerial side, "He holds the crowd after dinner:' You can experience Marcus on Tuesday and Wednesday nights beginning at eight p.m. at Fagler's or catch him aboard the Atlantic X all the other nights. Marcus you killed me softly!


click here to go back