Jeffrey Lewis
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Jeffrey Lewis - at the Magnet, Liverpool (13/02/04) - Live Review

Jeffrey Lewis
Magnet, Liverpool (13/02/04)

Making his third appearance on these shores in the space of a year the amiable New Yorker; Jeffrey Lewis has gained quite a reputation, not only for the strength of his own eclectic live performance, but also for putting on a good show featuring three or four intriguing support acts. Therefore, the news that the only support band has backed out should, you would have thought, put the amiable anti-folk artist on the back foot. However, this is The Jeffrey Lewis Band, who thrives on tragedy like a

Music - Jeffrey Lewis - at the Magnet, Liverpool (13/02/04) - Live Review

vulture. Youngest member of the trio Jack Lewis, who was noticeably more talkative and entertaining than on previous occasions, got up and turned the place into an impromptu open mic night. Rick, Martin & Anna utilised the unexpected chance to shine and each sang acoustic based songs. Jeff Lewis formed part of the audience and remained captivated throughout. He was so impressed with the revamped supports that he invited one of them; Anna to stay on stage and sing backing vocals on the opening track ‘Sad Math’, a neat Moldy Peaches2000 style track that saw Jack and Jack spouting free verse poetry early on. This had most of the audience smiling and inevitably thinking “I remember what a Jeff Lewis gig is like now”.

Jack’s singing talents that are more powerful and slightly more soulful than his elder brother’s, were utilised early on in the track that epitomised the two of them; “Something Good Inside”. Legendary band ‘The Fall’ received the ultimate of accolades; a Jeffrey Lewis A3 flip pad documentary featuring drawings pictures and a song. Jeff took us page by page through Mark E Smith’s eccentric and colourful rise to be front man of one of the music industries most original bands. Will Oldham was also the subject of this honour later on in the set as the amused crowd learned of a near sighting of Will by Jeff in New York. The latter display saw Jeff questioning his own plight and the worthiness of becoming an indie rock star or legend.

The majority of the crowd, for the first half of the show at least, were sat down with their legs crossed like eager nursery school children at story time, as they were mesmerised by Lewis’ poignancy and passionate style. However, everyone shot up as though someone had set fire to the floor, as Jack Lewis played the Rock N Roll game of crowd teasing leading up to the highlight track from the album ‘It’s The Ones Who Have Cracked That The Light Shines Through’;

“Jeff…. I am surrounded by eight of the things. What sort of chance to I have”.

Elder brother produced a wry smile and started preparing to play ‘If You Shoot The Head You Kill The Ghoul’, a neo punk rock crasher, as you got the feeling Jeff had just been subject to some brotherly persuasion. This was appreciated by the crowd who frantically danced around the venue. This was appreciated by the crowd who frantically danced around the venue and was the start of some real Friday night letting loose, to some of the more robust tracks on the above mentioned album like ‘Man With The Golden Arm’. Jeff became jealous of the good time dancing going in the crowd, he decided to join them. The just over an hour long set culminated with the classic celebration of positive thinking ‘Champion Jim’, a flip board cartoon about a guy who keeps going through no end of diversity. A mellow end to another awesome evening that demonstrated there is an alternative for music lovers out there.

David Adair



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