Inspiring As Ever
Jesse Malin may have had a tough role in warming up a crowd of Ian Hunter fans, slightly disgruntled to discover that the gig was standing and mostly completely unaware of his music. Thankfully there's probably nothing that Jesse Malin is better at than charming a crowd in his gritty and no nonsense way and they were soon won over by his anecdotes about his home town of New York (where people have taken to saying, "Yeah-no" because they're been lied to for so long that they can't stop lying) and personal stories. Aside from the rhetoric, Jesse has always been willing to bridge the physical divide between stage and audience leaping down into the crowd for a cover of Neil Young 'Helpless' and bringing the crowd literally to their knees as he beckoned everyone to sit down and sing along; a touching moment that should have truly inspired everyone in the room.
Beginning with the haunting melody, 'Brooklyn' Jesse silences the waiting crowd before kicking into the bluesy rocker, 'Riding On The Subway', with the addition of Dresden Dolls drummer Brian Viglione to Malin's band the rhythm certainly packs an extra punch. Viglione's theatrics may be a little more restrained than in his day job but his passionate for what he's playing is evident and contagious; this may be one of music's weirder pairings but it certainly works. Perhaps because of his early love of punk rock, Jesse is always eager to mix politics and music and remark on his latest observations of US society, which are equally as welcome as his banter, questioning the crowd on whether they were "fruity" and "old" due to the venue being called The Old Fruitmarket.
Tunes from this year's album, 'Glitter In The Gutter' such as the inspiring, 'Little Star' and rocky, 'Black Haired Girl' are mixed with older tunes like 'Wendy' and 'Almost Grown' with each song played as if it were fresh from the studio. An acoustic version of 'Aftermath', a delicate and touching album closer draw the set to a suitable finish and one that clearly impressed enough of the newcomers to Malin's music enough to check out the material on sale at the merch stand and have a quick chat with the man himself. You don't need anything big and flashy to be a great performer, you just need genuine music and true feelings as Jesse Malin proves by enthralling the crowd even as a mere support act.