Start putting out heartland-ish rock and you're bound to attract an audience partially made up of drunken brodudes. That’s the lesson to take from former D Generation frontman-turned-roots-rocker Jesse Malin’s show last night at TT’s, during which it was hard to tell if the group in the center of the room yelling out over a few of the singer's acoustic numbers and his occasionally verbose song introductions were disciples or haters. Not that Malin, who often seems like he’s imagining himself playing to bigger venues, seemed to care. He was off in his own world for much of the affair. My friend who came along put it best when she said afterwards: “It’s hard to imagine him off the stage.”
It was thanks to this detachment that last night turned out to be pretty enjoyable, despite the vibe emanating from a portion of the crowd. Malin and his crew (which included Dresden Doll Brian Viglione, lipstick-less and looking like he was enjoying himself immensely on drums) stuck mostly to his excellent first record, The Fine Art of Self Destruction (my review! of the album here) and his more radio-ready, recent release, Glitter in the Gutter. From the former: the slow-building “Brooklyn” thrilled whenever it picked up and Viglione sprung into action, his long black hair shooting about wildly. From the latter: the touching tribute to Malin's deceased mom, "Broken Radio" -- a duet with Bruce Springsteen on the album -- sounded just fine without the boss. And you gotta love a guy who’ll do a stripped-down, keyboard-accompanied “Bastards of Young” cover and amble around the stage like he’s karoake-ing to his favorite song.
Unfortunately, it was a short while after Viglione’s other half, Amanda Palmer, showed up to TT's that the performance stalled for me. It wasn’t her puffy, dyed hair obstructing my view that was the problem. Rather, it was Malin’s sudden self-indulgent turn, telling us about how he ran into Yoko Ono on the street in New York and then turning it into an opportunity to comment on the Sixties in general. “They really tried hard,” I think he said of that era at one point.
sure would've been nice if I took some pictures, huh?