Monday, 22 February 2010

Review: Jesca Hoop @ Deaf Institute / Thursday 18th Feb

"That was amazing... Really amazing" Those aren't my words, they're those of a friend who accompanied me to Jesca Hoop's gig at the Deaf Institute last Thursday. We're friends for a reason; we agree.

Playing in front of a home crowd (ok, second home. she's originally from California), Jesca was charming, amusing, charismatic and vulnerable in equal measures. Backed by a pair of female singers, a drummer/percussionist and a guitarist, the music from her second album Hunting My Dress was rendered in paired-down, hushed tones; at points rustic and creaky, calling up images of dusty porches and the classic American frontier, at others almost visceral, particularly during the chorus of 'Angel Mom', which once more proved the old adage that 'a little distortion goes a long way' (actually I just made that up).

Too often folk/Americana solo performers come across as po-faced 'artists', an attitude to which Jesca Hoop is a welcome antidote, dancing on stage, smiling and generally appearing as if she was having a good time, not to mention trading witty banter with the Mancunian audience, the likes of which I could only dream (I'm more of a 10 minutes later man, if you know what I mean).

Jesca also performed a few songs from her earlier album Kismet, during which the much publicised Tom Waits connection became more apparent, yet never so blatant as to devalue the songs themselves. It's an album I'll be getting a lot more familiar with very soon.

No doubt lazy journalists will lump her in with that one who plays the harp, but if you ask me they're worlds apart, and equally brilliant. If you get the chance to see her live, go.
Words: James Roome
Photo: Flickr, used under Creative Commons licence

No comments:

Post a Comment