Less than a week before the show, I received an email informing me that the sold-out Jack Savoretti concert would no longer take place at the Phoenix, but would instead be held in our very own Lemon Grove. This wasn’t at all a problem for me, but I was curious to see how the rugged, gravelly vibes of Jack’s music would play off in the commercial student club.
My anticipation began to grow as support Max Jury took to the stage. A talented vocalist and keyboard player for sure, I enjoyed his first few songs. After a while, however, his sound became repetitive and his lyrics samey, and I was soon more than ready for Jack to take to the stage. I was clearly not the only impatient one as the murmurs of the audience grew louder – a disappointing response considering Jury’s set was only half an hour long. I was, however, pleased to watch the venue filling up as much as it would do for a Saturday night Lemmy, and the mix of characters in the audience showed how Jack’s music is loved by a wide range of ages and types of people.
The second Jack stepped on stage and played the flamenco guitar opening of Written In The Scars, it became clear that I needn’t have given the venue a second thought. The audience were immediately zoned into the music, dancing from the off, with Jack’s effortlessly husky voice setting a laidback vibe. He put on a truly expert performance, talking to the audience between songs for just the right length of time and clearly loving every second he spent playing for us. His band worked together smoothly, showcasing their professionalism as they performed The Other Side Of Love (written, recorded and always performed on a piano) exceptionally well without their pianist, who was away due to a family emergency. The admirable musical talents of the band were further showcased as the bassist switched it up and played the cello for the introduction of A Soldier’s Eyes, adding some instrumental variety to the show.
I particularly loved one of Jack’s between-song stories which involved him telling us about the song that “changed his life”. Working in a studio out in America, he found a box of Bob Dylan’s old things – including lyrics to some of his songs which he never planned on recording. Jack took one of these songs, called Nobody ‘Cept You, and made it his own, releasing it on his most recent album. He played the song alone on an acoustic guitar, and left the audience in a stunned silence. Jack’s music is emotional and raw on record but when performed live it is a whole new experience. It sounds cheesy but I honestly felt privileged to see this song, which has obviously been an emotional outlet for him, live.
Jack Savoretti has always been one of those artists that I want to tell every single person I meet to go and listen to, as I believe that his talent and passion for music deserves far more recognition than it receives. The way he interacted with the audience confirms that he is just a genuinely nice guy, and his overall phenomenal performance means that I can now add “one of the best acts I have ever seen live” to my list of things to tell people about Jack.
Photos by Paul Ramisch.