12 May 2009

Jay Brannan and a dodgy bush

We went to see Jay Brannan play on Saturday - he was so good! And terribly sweet and cute, as usual.

Chris was meant to be at university during the day, but he reprehensibly bunked off, which meant that we could go up to London a bit earlier. The concert (gig? concert?) was in Shepherd's Bush, and for some reason I'd got it into my head that Shepherd's Bush would be quite trendy and nice. I think it must have been because it's in West London not far from Kensington. It's not anyway, it was actually a bit rank. The high street was just lots and lots of takeaways and caf├ęs where groups of 40-year old men were watching television together rather than go home to their wives.

We had decided to have some dinner up there anyway, and went to Nando's. It was my first Nando's experience, and the food was actually quite nice despite the noticeably pikey clientele. I suppose that's what you get for eating somewhere where the main course costs £5. It was also conveniently located about three doors down from Bush Hall though, where the concert was going to be.

When we came out of the restaurant a bit before 7, I was surprised to find there was already a queue of people at the venue, even though the doors weren't opening for another half an hour. We didn't really want to queue for all that time so we went for a short walk, before deciding Shepherd's Bush definitely wasn't that nice and going back to queue instead. It was quite good anyway because you could hear Jay warming up or doing a sound check or something through the fire doors next to us, and the queue was decidedly homotastic, and once the doors opened we were all in quite quickly.

Bush Hall was nice, it's an old sort of building with cornices and mouldings and things. It was an all-standing gig so there were no seats, just a big room with a stage at one end. But as the support act wasn't going to be on for an hour everyone just sat on the floor, thereby staking out good positions near the stage and saving our feet. Apart from a few rude people who actually thought they'd stand near the front, in front of lots of people sitting down so they couldn't see anything, until someone shouted "SIT DOWN" at them.

The support act was a guy called Arthur Delaney, who was quite good just as an act on his own and very watchable. He did kind of fast guitar playing and singing, and was accompanied by a not unattractive young man who was also quite good but apparently not good enough to get a mention alongside Arthur Delaney.

And then it was time for Jay, who came out on stage to an almighty amount of applause and promptly said "You guys are going to be so disappointed..."

Jay Brannan with teabagsWe weren't anyway, he was really good. It was just him on his own, which I always think is brave of anyone up on a stage, and he brought his own water and things out in a little Morrisons bag (so sweet!). He had also brought crumpets which, in an odd twist of logic, were "in case anyone throws crumpets at me, because you're British". We didn't anyway, but someone did throw a box of Earl Grey tea, which he seemed to appreciate.

He played songs mostly from his album Goddamned, but also quite a few that weren't, which was nice because there were a few things I hadn't heard before. And he just chatted in between and made us laugh, a bit like Lisa Loeb did when I saw her.

Everyone seemed to really enjoy it and I'm definitely glad I went to see him. A lady also threw her bra at him at the end, which seemed to bemuse him slightly, even more so when she said she'd want it back.

He was only doing one gig in the UK before going on to Paris the next day (where he's doing five gigs, SO not fair). It can't be that much fun travelling around on your own with your guitar on your back, but to his credit he sold out a performance in London and five performances in Paris, and he was doing a couple of others in Dublin and Tel Aviv, so he must be doing pretty well for himself.

I would go and see him again certainly, although maybe not in Shepherd's Bush.

If you don't know who he is (in which case you may not have read through all this), you can check him out on YouTube www.youtube.com/jaybrannan


Nel said...

That's cool that you got to see him perform! He's so good in person, can't wait for him to come back to L.A. again. :) Did you get a chance to do a little meet & greet with him after?

superlative said...

No! We wanted to, and he was around before and after the show, but because he played for nearly an hour and a half (good value for money!) we didn't have time at the end and had to run to get our train.

I only would have said something lame anyway like "I really like you I do" and he would have thought I was weird.

xlad said...

Sounds like an intimate gig. How refreshing to see someone on their own with just their guitar and no massive production values, shows real talent.
How did his voice hold up compared to the album? Did he sound as good live or better?

superlative said...

I would say he sounded easily as good live. There was very little difference to the quality of his singing on the album, you wouldn't think "oh he's had his voice tweaked on the recording" or anything.

I think probably that's helped by having heard him sing a lot on YouTube anyway, where it's just him singing into a webcam, so I was familiar with what he sounds like in person.