Mallman Marathon

The piano banger will play for 78 hours straight.

Conrad Schoenleber

WHAT: Mark Mallman Marathon 3

WHO: Mark Mallman and a troupe of 75 backup musicians

WHERE: The Turf Club, 1601 University Ave. W, Thurs-Sun or on webcast at

COST: $7, 3-day pass (Friday-Sunday) $20, $10 (Sunday)


More a physical achievement than a rock show, Mark Mallman plans to embark on a quasi-spiritual journey of playing one song nonstop for 78 hours. The 37-year-old local mainstay will sit at one piano with over 400 pages of lyrics and will not stop.

Foregoing caffeine and other chemicals, Mallman plans to simply catch the musical spirit and burn, burn, burn (hopefully not out).

âÄúIf you use caffeine, you crash and itâÄôs like blowing my load early. ItâÄôs like the Tour de FranceâÄî starting out too fast, too soon,âÄù Mallman said. âÄúIf a crack addict can stay up for 20 days, as unhealthy as they are, a person in my physical condition can stay up four days.âÄù

He doesnâÄôt train, because that would be âÄúunhealthy.âÄù If youâÄôre going to stay up for four days straight hammering away at the ivory, you might as well only do it once.

âÄúItâÄôs like training for the buffet. You donâÄôt eat a ton the night before, you eat less,âÄù he said. âÄúIâÄôm going to get sick; itâÄôs going to be hard. I know that. But really, the mental focus, the positive attitude, thatâÄôs what matters,âÄù he added.

The third time Mallman has taken the plunge into musical insomnia, this is by far the longest. The first marathon in 1999 lasted 26 hours. The second in 2004 was 52. Adding more than a day is no mean feat. Only a madman or crazed performer would attempt it, and Mallman is both.

The 37-year-old glitz-rocker is like a drug-addled (though he never explicitly said he does them) Neil Diamond with Freddie Mercury flair. His antic-laced live show oozes with energy. Imagine the âÄúRocky Horror Picture ShowâÄù acted out on stage. Like late night cult movie fans have a habit of saying, you just have to see it.

ItâÄôs difficult to take the man seriously when heâÄôs covered in rhinestones and touting a motorized scooter (see his MySpace). But for Mallman, itâÄôs all business, taking a cerebral approach to forming an entertaining live show.

âÄúIâÄôm very serious about it. Like the concept and the idea of fun, itâÄôs multifaceted,âÄù he said.

The marathon will undoubtedly be just that, but itâÄôs difficult to envision the event ending coherently. Seventy-eight hours is a long time. It will be a sight to see, but so is a train wreck.

Whether you have faith in MallmanâÄôs adrenaline, this show is worth seeing, if for no other reason than to say that you saw a man expend every ounce of energy in his body in the name of piano-rock glory.

âÄúThis will be one of the milestones of my career. It just crept up on me,âÄù Mallman said. ItâÄôs not the way I expected it, but IâÄôm recognizing it as such and treating it with that much respect.âÄù