It is the fourth Thursday in November and where better to celebrate Thanksgiving Day than in the recently relocated and completely transformed Fibbers in the most wonderful company of Jesse Malin from the grand New York City borough of Queens.
Jesse Malin’s musical career can be traced back to New York’s post-punk scene of the early 1980s though his own solo recorded output actually dates from a couple of decades later and his breakthrough debut long player, The Fine Art of Self Destruction. Malin’s primary sphere of influence is located in the late 70’s songcraft of Neil Young, Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen – with whom he would later join forces on the 2007 cut ‘Broken Radio’ – though more contemporary touchstones are Ryan Adams and The Gaslight Anthem. He distils all of these reference points into his very own personal narratives of lost opportunities, doomed relationships and fresh new beginnings.
Jesse Malin is currently here in the UK to primarily road test songs from his forthcoming and as yet untitled new album and he is backed by a superbly tight band including three men who will feature on this record – Derek Cruz (guitar), Don DiLego (bass) and Randy Schrager (drums) – plus Adam Bock on keys. Bock has already appeared earlier with principal support act Hollis Brown, Malin’s near neighbours from Queens and who put in a great shift of classic rock, Americana and blues and end their set with a tremendous cover of The Velvet Underground’s ‘Sweet Jane’.
The new single ‘Addicted’ confirms Jesse Malin’s strong grasp of pop history and its inherent sensibilities and the gorgeous reminiscences of ‘The Year That I Was Born In’ promises even more for this forthcoming album. Malin expertly weaves the newer material in amongst some of his more established songs. ‘Hotel Columbia’ from his second album The Heat is an early highlight and the appearance of Danny Ray on saxophone adds further weight to a joyous reading of the title track from The Pogues’ ‘If I Should Fall From Grace With God’.
The heartbreak of ‘She Don’t Love Me Now’ attests to Malin’s ability to balance vulnerability with determination and his innate skill in capturing these feelings in song. The concluding ‘All The Way From Moscow’ – taken from his last album, 2010’s Love It To Life – showcases another side to his songwriting craft, that of the old fashioned rock’n’roller. Three encores deservedly follow – the beautifully nostalgic ‘Brooklyn’, which in Malin’s own words is all about being stuck in a moment as much as you can; the equally gorgeous ‘Promises’ and a valedictory shot of ‘Heart Of Gold’, the B-side of the new single – all of which add to the mystery of why the pendulum of commercial success has not swung a whole lot further in the direction of this supremely talented and most personable of performers.
‘Addicted’ will be released on 19th January 2015 through One Little Indian
More photographs of this show can be found here