Mark Allen of My Mourning Belle played a show in Wisconsin with Far Beyond Frail, where the two bands hit it off. When Allen heard Far Beyond Frail was playing a show in Des Moines the night after his own show in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he asked if he could join the group’s performance and they agreed to let him open for them.
Last Thursday at 8 p.m., Allen opened for the band at Mars Café. Mars often hosts smaller artists similar to Allen.
Claire McCrod has been a barista at Mars Café since June and has the opportunity to hear a lot of musicians play.
“I thought he was good,” McCord said after Allen’s performance.
Mark Allen has been singing for 15 years. He got into music when a band he knew was looking for a singer. He knew one of the guys in the band and decided to audition. Allen soon began singing with them.
The band experienced success in the Milwaukee area they were based out of, and even played at the world’s largest music festival, Summerfest. In 2001, the band split up and went its separate ways.
After the band’s break up, Allen decided to learn how to play guitar and other instruments.
“Moving forward, I didn’t want to rely on other people,” Allen said on his decision to learn how to not just sing music, but also play it. There was a stretch of five to six years where Allen learned different instruments before he formed My Mourning Belle in 2007.
My Mourning Belle is an alternative band currently comprised of only Mark Allen. Producer Aaron Moore accompanies him on one of his albums.
The name My Mourning Belle comes from a song Allen wrote called “Lorelei” in which he refers to the character of Lorelei as his morning belle. When Allen first started out, he didn’t know what to name his band. One day he was looking at the lyrics for the song “Lorelei” and it just struck him. The name has stuck ever since.
Allen writes his own music and takes inspiration from his life and the lives of those around him. He explained that he often writes songs thinking they are about nothing and then looks back on them months later only to realize exactly what they mean.
When Allen plays shows, he tends to go the acoustic route performing alone. On his album titled “Evidence and Alibis” Allen sings, plays acoustic guitar, synthesizer and piano. Moore accompanies him as the producer and does guitar, bass, keyboard, drums, programming and back-up vocals.
In June of 2008, he was selected as the WisconsinMusician.com spotlight artist of the month. In Milwaukee he is ranked the No. 1 alternative musician on ReverbNation charts.
Allen is currently working on another album, which he plans to release in 2011. When it is done, he hopes to tour with a full band.
Check his music out at www.myspace.com/mymourningbelle or on his website www.mymourningbelle.com. If you like what you hear, make sure to find him on iTunes where his debut of “A Place You Hope to Find,” is featured.
While Allen doesn’t have any upcoming shows in the Des Moines area, he will be playing shows in the Milwaukee, Chicago and Minneapolis areas before wrapping his tour up on Nov. 20.