Gig review: Jesse Malin, Glasgow

At the Oran Mor, Glasgow. Picture: Contributed
At the Oran Mor, Glasgow. Picture: Contributed
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Jesse Malin is a classicist. He loves the smell of vinyl in the morning, but has grudgingly accepted the prevalence of the “interwebs”, even deploying it to harvest fan requests ahead of this gig.

Jesse Malin | Oran Mor, Glasgow | Rating ****

“I got into music for anti-social reasons, but now I’m on Facebox,” he joked to the crowd during this stripped-back show, at which he was backed by guitarist/keyboard player Derek Cruz.

Malin arrived singing through the audience, a troubadour of the people move which could have been corny but instead simply showcased the natural grit in his tone.

His songs are robust roots rock things, fine if you like your music derived mainly from Springsteen or Neil Young. Malin didn’t sweat the details on the freewheeling likes of Hotel Columbia or no frills acoustic rocker Addicted, its rudimentary sentiments about the power of music driven along by some energetic dual strumming.

But what made the show was Malin’s spirited, spontaneous delivery – you can feel his New Yorker strut even through these acoustic interpretations – and his entertaining wisecracks.

He can paint a vivid picture in a few brushstrokes. A standard cover of The Pogues’ If I Should Fall From Grace With God was brightened up with a silly Shane MacGowan story involving an unusual drinking receptacle.

Refreshingly, he didn’t make a meal of anything – until the somewhat overblown Bar Life, during which he asked the audience to crouch down like a teenage festival crowd while he regaled them with the only superfluous story of the night.