Sunday, March 18, 2007

Jesse Malin - Rock And Roll Heart

Jesse Malin - Tin Angel 3/15/07

I think when Feeney played “Wendy” for me in his cd store I knew it was something special. And it was. Jesse Malin’s first cd, The Fine Art of Self Destruction, had just been released overseas in late 2002. I must have played that cd 50 times in the first 3 months of 2003. I tend to get obsessive about my favorite music - there isn’t a month that goes by where I fail to give Heat Treatment or Late For The Sky a spin. Heck, I haven’t made a full week in the last 6 months without drifting off into the musical crack that is Boys And Girls in America or Dog Problems.

Now it’s Glitter in the Gutter’s turn. Jesse Malin’s new cd will hit stores this Tuesday (3/20) and if you love rock and roll with equal parts Springsteen fervor, Croce melodies and Ramones attitude, you need to hear Glitter in The Gutter. The big early buzz is that Ryan Adams, Josh Homme and Bruce Springsteen made guest appearances on the record. That’s fine but would mean nothing without great songs… and Malin’s got a bundle of them.

Appearing at an overpacked Tin Angel in Philadelphia last Thursday night, Jesse Malin and his band were able to obliterate my South by Southwest blues and coughed up another huge furball of rock euphoria. Opening with TFAOSD’s “Riding on the Subway”, the jam packed band (keyboardist Christine Smith set up on the floor in front of the stage) launched into a sweat-soaked set of good old fashioned gut-bucket rock and roll. Malin (like fellow New York contemporaries The Hold Steady) is putting on the kind of club show that makes you want to drag every one you know to see them. It’s a celebration of rock’s past with no whiff of nostalgia. The set was heavy on the new record, arguably Malin’s best, and included first single “Don’t Let Them Take You Down”, live for the moment anthem “Tomorrow Tonight”, piano ballad “Broken Radio” (alas no Boss duet tonight), hit-single in my mind “Black Haired Girl”, fist-pumpin, hip shakin’ rocker “Prisoners of Paradise” and heart-on-his sleeve ode to “Lucinda” which contains Malin’s mission statement “We’re celebrating / Save your life by playing rock ‘n’ roll”.

Add in scattered highlights from his first two records (“Wendy”, “Almost Grown”, “Brooklyn”, “Basement Home”, “Hotel Columbia”) plus superb covers “Everybody’s Talkin’” and celebratory show-closer “Surrender”, and you’ve got a pee-break free set. (Note: All rock bands should be forced to end their shows with a Cheap Trick cover. It’s just good common sense.)

I salute those that made it out Thursday night – Feeney, Angelo, Charlie (nice pics!), Shuggie, Ian, Schwelm, Miranda, mama-sama, daughter-sama, Hudak (with date!?) and Janet (thanks for saying hi!). And all you others – I expect to see you at the World Café Live on April 10 for Malin’s return engagement (and yes, I’m talking to you Mezz.)


Janet said...

Hi again,

It was great meeting you at the show. You were right about JM. I am now a total addict. See you at World Cafe Live!


-tom said...

Hey Trip
Did you know Jesse covered THS's "You Can Make Him Like You" last night in NYC

Reebs said...

Nice pix! And I like the new layout....