Words by Anthony Nocera
Oh Jesse, pls.
The other day I saw a couple laying on the grass in the park. They tried to get up without letting go of each other but as they did, the girl kneed the boy in the crotch.
That moment encapsulates what it’s like to see Jesse Davidson: kind of cute, funny, profound in it’s goofiness and is there anything more beautiful than obnoxious straight people getting injured? I haven’t seen it. Flowers? No. Babies? Nah. Jesse Davidson performing live? Yeah … probs.
Supports Attila My Honey and Archers got the night off to a rollicking start, making some beautiful fuzzy noise. Big props to Archers who played an intense and powerful set that managed to get the crowd away from the bar and onto the dance floor. Tearing through their back catalogue, the band was energetic and sombre in a way that was captivating to watch.
Then, after a slight delay (and a few weird lighting choices that were maintained throughout the show) Jesse took the stage. Launching his (beautiful) sophomore EP Lizard Boy, Jesse burned through songs new and old for the home crowd. Made up of friends, family and die-hard fans, everyone lapped up every second of his fantastic set.
What makes Jesse’s EP special in it’s recorded form is how polished it is. It’s an accomplished and intricate collection of songs from an artist who has a new found assuredness in his voice as an artist. But live, Jesse is something else. The music loses some of its tightness, some of that gloss. It loosens, unwinds itself and uses those loose threads to pull you in. The guitars twang, the synths are a bit gauzy … the music has edges. Lead single off of Lizard Boy, ‘Lagoon’ was the perfect example of this, with the song substituting the quiet sweetness of the recorded track for a more visceral gut-punch of emotion. Jesse’s voice cracks a little as the song builds; his band wail along with him as everything reaches this huge peak before slowly fading away on the pillowy synths that it arrived on like a darkly beautiful lullaby. It feels powerful. It feels a little bit magic.
There’s something about Jesse Davidson live that is just special. No doubt helped by the intimacy of Jive, his voice filled the space with all of it’s syrupy sweetness. Jesse doesn’t sing or perform, he oozes about the venue. He melts and makes you melt along with him. And when you leave, it feels as though you’ve seen something special and it just leaves you with this long lasting impression of an artist who is on the verge of exploding, if not just because his cover of ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham! is the only time that song hasn’t made you 100% homicidal.
You’ll feel that power as you walk down Hindley Street … I suppose it’s a bit like getting kneed in the crotch. But good. In a good way.