@ The Cockpit, Leeds
In his defaced Billy Joel T-shirt, with rock star pale skin and dyed black hair, Jesse Malin looks every inch of his diminutive height the pretender to Bruce Springsteen’s crown. This is the full band follow up to his solo spots supporting Ryan Adams last year. Away from the close focus of acoustic bare-bones singer / songwriter deconstruction, the De-Generation front man becomes Americana incarnate. Jesse Malin, with his motto of ‘live too much’ has been a miner in song and has tapped a vein of classic American rock. You know, the country-inflected, straight ahead, melody driven line up of two guitars, bass drums and piano. Jesse Malin screws up his face, switches from falsetto to hoarse, is involved, believes his lyrics are important and is very obviously enjoying himself and working hard. This was a solid show, showcasing the album and winning over tentative converts to his big tunes and wistful lyricism. Pausing to tell a few self-deprecating stories, Jesse threw in a cover of Death Or Glory for Joe Strummer (“…and it’s proven by research – he who fucks nuns will later join the church”.) The big encore was a cover of What’s So Funny About Peace, Love And Understanding. These covers tell me of a love of punk and pub rock that carry through to an infectious love of performing. It’s easy to see this band on a much larger stage. Catch them in a small club now.
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