Jesse Malin, the ex frontman of New York punk band D generation, shot into the music world when his debut album 'The Fine Art of Self Destruction' hit the shelves in 2002 and since then he hasn’t really been quiet. Ryan Adams is a close personnel friend of his and I was hoping that I wouldn’t be disappointed when I made my way through to Reading on a cold and rainy night in early October.

Malin fits perfectly well into the Dylan/Damian Rice category of singer-songwriter. He looks just like Robin Williams, but this of course has nothing to do with his music.

The first song that really grabbed me was 'Cigarettes and Violence', a slow lament on piano and voice which holds that line between beauty and pain that allows you to reminisce and want to cry at the same time. It would have fitted perfectly into a West End musical. In fact all his songs were in this vein. Led by acoustic guitar and his voice they were seamlessly enhanced by the piano and a female backing singer who was also on stage with him.

This had the songs ranging from being purely beautiful to totally haunting and every stop in between. Along with all of this, the man was genuinely quite funny too, combining his songs with stories of his life and what the songs meant. This allowed the audience to have a much closer, almost intimate relationship with him. It was a lovely experience to be a part of his audience.

Needless to say go and see him, laugh at his jokes, nod your head to his songs, see if you can see the similarity to Robin Williams, and have a beer. More importantly realise that life is pretty good when you break it down to two people on stage with a piano, a guitar and some close harmony.

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Commenting On: Fez, Reading, 1/10/2004 - Jesse Malin

ie London, England

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