Saturday, May 17, 2008

Jesse Malin @ ULU, London, 15/05/2008

Jesse Malin is one of these artists I have been meaning to see for a while, and have just missed getting tickets a couple of times. There was an additional attraction this time, the appearance of Holly Brook as support act. Sadly, Brook had to pull out of the dates and was replaced by Dave Bielanko and Christine Smith of the band Marah (Smith is only a recent joiner)

Bielanko and Smith turned out to be a real treat. Bielanko's gritty, dirty, alt rock/country/springteen tinged sounds, sounding great banged out on an acoustic with Smith's fine piano playing and backing vocals adding a nice depth to the songs. Two performers to check out.

Indeed, Smith was in for an all-nighter, as she was also providing the same backing vocals and piano accompaniment for Malin himself.

Malin is an energetic, funny and engaging performer (if not the greatest singer) - as happy and comfortable, chewing the fat between songs as he is playing them (something you could not say for his friend Ryan Adams). Playing a mix of material from his first two records interspersed with tracks from his new album of covers, this was 95 minutes of pure joy. At one point, Malin decided he needed to get closer to us and jumped down off the stage, and got all assembled to sit down, as he walked through us, reeling off a couple of jokes, as a sort of digression in his cover of Neil Young's 'Helpless'.

Other covers (also on the album), that may interest readers of the site included a cover of The Hold Steady's - 'You Can Make Him Like You' (Malin is a big fan), and perhaps even more in fitting with the title of this blog, he also played The Lords of the New Church's - 'Russian Roulette' [Todd produced their second album]. This was nice as Jesse was also joined on stage by guitarist Brian James (who was also in the Damned).

Highlights? It was all pretty good fun. Thanks to the person who has already posted several tunes of Youtube.