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Sunday, 6 September 2009

Jeffrey Lewis: Live at the Bodega Social 2/9/2009.

Opening, Jack Lewis (Jeffs bro) and his band mates break into Michael Jacksons ‘They don’t care about us’ and despite his initial reluctance, here we are!  The fact that this rendition sounds like The Clangers on Lithium is, I’m sure, all the more pleasing!  Jack rocks as his free-flowing lyrics ride every riff.  It’s 8:15pm and the room is almost full of Jeff and Jack aficionados and it’s quite a sweet thing to behold.  

Simon the trumpeter is met with a warm welcome and after his introduction, we continue with a guitar wielding Jack, having what could be the infectious time of his life!  The song closes and with humility in his heart Jack states “that could be the second or third time people have danced to that song”...  “Tip the bar staff, hey, tip the band”.  Nice one Jack, very instructive and insightful too!
Jacks Jeff-less section of the show closes to great and affectionate applause.
Jeff brags and boasts a little, of how he’s denied NYC the use of a drummer (Raphi) for a month.  Sure, he’s not the only drummer, but he’s the only drummer with his own kit, given that NYC apartments are so small!   Doing 0-60, Jeff opens the show with his trademark, lyric riddled, diverse sound.  The crowd love it of course and the overall vibe intensifies.  Like a beat poet on speed, Jeff sings through the sometimes incomprehensible wall of sound that blissfully envelops him.  

Somewhat comically, when Jeff asks Jack to sing more, Jack replies “I would if I knew the words”.  Jeff then shares a little ‘film’ with us and proceeds to incisively narrate to the unfolding slideshow that his synchronistical sketchpad and its turning pages provides.  Great idea indeed and to pull it off live, well it’s just showing off, right?  Whatever, we want more!
On-stage banter unfolds once more and to listen to Jeff communicate is comparable with listening to a 33rpm record at 45rpm; both fascinating and entertaining but, we haven’t seen anything yet!
Jeff launches into a finger-clicking and hand-clapping accompanied gangsta-rap.  He covers the topic of mosquitoes as he schmoovely carries the tempo nicely to an applauded finale.  In stark contrast, a sentiment driven track follows, revealing the human behind the robotic clone that’s surely on stage right now!  

Jeff thanks all (again), adding thanks for the “balding skin and bone” that he sees himself as being before another short sketchbook-bound ‘film’.  It’s a black and white detective affair that's well received, as is the news that there are a couple more tracks on their way.

‘Heavy Heart’ is a popular track, illustrated perfectly by the response of this elated crowd and, whilst all very nice (yes, nice), I still stand here waiting for my personal favourite that I’d assured myself must be on the set-list.  And what do you know – ‘Back when I was 4’ follows.  It’s a great track and it sounds as good tonight as it does on CD.  Hurrah!  

One last track then!  ‘No LSD tonight’ (a track I first heard on an amazing Maida Vale session) propels the crowd into unexpected overdrive as the band melds into a synergy-fuelled noise machine that rattles and yes, rocks!  Memorable to say the least and enforced by my meeting Jeff & Jack after the gig!   Kick yourself for missing this one folks! for full info
For details of his latest CD 'Em are I'...