The raw passion of Jesse Malin's debut album 'The Fine Art of Self Destruction' is accentuated by his live performance. On stage, he is buzzing with barely suppressed energy; the punk snarl of his vocal delivery marks him apart from singer-songwriter contemporaries. In between tunes however Malin is remarkably genial, switching from the wrought intensity of the performance to further the notion that everyone from New York is blessed with a comic storytelling gene.
'Brooklyn' creates an instant intimacy from the impossibly fragile acoustic opening to the swirling organ climax that provides backing to a tale of loss and desolation. It does not just tug at the heartstrings - it rips the whole organ free of your body. 'Queen of the Underworld' follows and is testament to the variety of influences that infuse Malin's performance. The cracked, heartfelt vocal is unmistakably Neil Young, before a Mick Jagger pout and flourish that introduces a lilting Tom Petty style chorus.
Another highlight of the set, 'Riding on the Subway', is a wryly amusing song about fleeting love, bizarre hair and public transport. It is rapturously received as Malin and his four-piece band clench their teeth, throw their best rock shapes, and deviate from the recording by adding a gleefully anarchic finale.
Tonight Jesse Malin proves he is representative of everything that is great in rock music, combining the attitude and integrity of punk with the confessional intimacy of the acoustic troubadour
oh, and the gags of Jerry Seinfeld.