We arrive at the venue to hear the last sounds of Diane Gentile, performing on acoustic guitar with a companion. Gentile has been Jesse Malin's manager and produced a number of his tracks, as well as being a song writer and screen writer in her own right. And she's the manager of the Bowery Electric, one of Malin's New York venues. And a nice lady too, she was kind when we went to see Green Day side project Foxboro Hottubs there. Very talented indeed. The crowd that made it here on time are transfixed.
Now the next band I am not at all bothered about. The name, Special Needs, which could be trying to be punk, just highlights how much thought these guys put into their sound and music. So they have supported Razorlight and Maximo Park They do a short set tonight and look like they can't be arsed. The T shirt saying their name and a picture of Nick Clegg would be okay if not in such bad taste. This is their first gig back after six years and it shows. Hurry up and finish I say!
Thankfully they do. Jesse Malin takes a little while to come onstage; his band the St. Marks Social come and sound check a couple of times to get our hopes up and then disappear. The crowd here is a mixed bunch of older fans and younger students, a nice friendly mix. The size of the darkened venue makes this an intimate affair. We all know what's coming as it's the tour of Malin's first solo album after leaving D Generation, 'The Fine Art of Self-Destruction', but this time with added layers of a band. Previously Malin had backing help with a keyboardist and drummer amongst others but this dedicated band provide a mush rockier sound. The simple set ups of the odd Orange amp and even a bongo give a grungy sound too that is deafening at the front of the crowd but ok at the back.
'Queen Of The Underworld' with its stepping beat into a flowing chorus starts off the album. 'Wendy', the punkier track from the album is what I am here for; along with many others as the crowd get dancing. 'Riding On The Subway' is another track to dance to. The mood slows down for 'Solitaire', but only after Jess tells us a story about his purchase of a Lemmy doll in Idaho and how their tour bus is called the Silver Machine.
Malin also reminds us to keep looking in record shops for those rare beauties, as the internet is killing this past time off. It is, but it is also the way we found out about this tour, so it's promoting live music as much as stifling psychical music formats. 'Brooklyn' is played twice as it is on the album, the second time though with a much longer jam of an ending.
The encore is where the interesting tracks appear. It starts with 'Mona Lisa' from second album 'The Heat' (if the band had started to play this all the way through and played 'Swinging Man' I could have left very happy indeed). Of course there's a couple from the newer album 'Love It To Life' as it features the St. Mark Social guys, then it's back onto 'Modern World' from 'Glitter In The Gutter', which is really rocked up. The house lights have already gone on and then been turned back down again, as Jesse is one for tripping over the curfew at his shows
The set ends with Malin on his own in a tribute to Joe Strummer, the "best teacher" he could ever have. The sounds of a raw 'Death Or Glory' complete with backing vocals from the crowd and fists in the air makes this a very worthy end to a great high energy show.
Queen of the Underworld
The Fine Art of Self Destruction
Riding on the Subway
Cigarettes and Violets
Burning the Bowery
St. Mark's Sunset
Death Or Glory