Every time I see Jesse Malin live I find myself surprised at just how good he is. This guy, particularly with the backing of his new band The St. Marks Social, is an awesome performer. He is a charismatic and funny front man who wears his heart and his musical influences on his sleeve, supported by a proper old-fashioned, in your face, loud rock ‘n’ roll band.
Marking the tenth anniversary of the UK release of Jesse’s debut solo album The Fine Art of Self Destruction the band arrived in Glasgow to perform the album in full in front of a sold out King Tut’s. The first venue to sell out on the Fine Art tour – Glasgow loves Jesse Malin.
I’ve often alluded to my belief on here that Malin isn’t a great songwriter. His lyrics sometimes feel like they have been stuck together for the sake of rhyming. And although he writes some infectious rock tunes, it is his songwriting which probably prevents him from being held in the same regard as his friend Ryan Adams or fellow tri-state “new Bruce Springsteen” The Gaslight Anthem.
But that’s what makes his live set all the more enjoyable. It is fair to say that the album format maybe doesn’t do Jesse any justice, because songs like Wendy and Brooklyn are transformed into something quite special on stage.
The sight of Malin commanding the audience to sit on the floor during Solitaire whilst he steps off stage and sits in the middle of the crowd is always something to behold. As are the many humorous and quirky stories told between songs.
A balls-out rock performance concluded with a tremendous cover of John Lennon’s best song. No, not Imagine, but Instant Karma. It felt like the ideal way to end the night.
An exceptional night in the presence of an outstanding rock ‘n’ roll band. The Fine Art of Self Destruction has never sounded better.