Jumping Hot Club
27th January 2015
For once I actually arrived at the venue early; but when I walked into the larger of the two halls at the Cluny, it was alrfourabout 70% full, which speaks volumes for Lindi Ortega’s current standing in the world of music, and the Jumping Hot Club’s new ‘aggressive’ marketing campaign.
Opening act; the fop-haired Jordan Klassen could have passed for Jack Black’s younger brother and his very dark, introspective songs and intricate guitar playing kept the ever growing crowd enthralled from start to finish.
Klassen has something of an ‘interesting voice;’ and I can’t think of anyone else whom he particularly sound like apart from rising Geordie singer-songwriter Richard Dawson. While obviously there to see the headline act the audience so reverential, you could even hear the clinking of beer bottles behind the bar; and for the first time in years there was almost no chattering while the young man from Vancouver performed his intense and occasionally poetic songs.
Two songs in-particular stood out; Gargoyles (which was much nicer than the title would suggest) and Firing Squad which closed the set.
Remember the name; Jordan Klassen, you will certainly hear it again in more exalted circles than this.
The last time Lindi Ortega performed at the Jumping Hot Club it was in A a less than full Cluny II; but by the time she came on stage with her band; all clad in black apart from her ruby red cowboy boots; the House Full sign was put on the door, as the 350 capacity had possibly already been exceeded; but don’t tell the man from the Council.
To a huge cheer she opened the show with the cryptic Run Down Neighbourhood and followed it with Dying of Another Broken Heart; and the tone was set for a night of ultra-cool Alt. Country that was one part Southern Gothic, one part Classic Country, one part Bobbie Gentry, two parts Dusty in Memphis and all swirled around in a glass full of melancholic Durham gin.
I’ve got three of the Canadian’s albums and love them dearly; with songs from Cigarettes and Truckstops and being very popular when I had my radio show; but nothing prepared me for hearing her sing them live.
It helped that her band were excellent; especially ‘Champagne’ James Robertson, who made his Fenders, sizzle, howl and moan like a ten bob whore, whenever necessary; but the tight drumming and mellow semi-acoustic bass kept the backfield in motion too.
The first time most people heard of Lindi Ortega was probably because the good people of Nashville were aurally shocked that this young lady had the audacity to mention…..marijuana in her lyrics! Well I ask you; how dare she? George Jones? Willie Nelson? Hank II anyone?
Anyway; the references were there tonight; but no big deal was made of it; why should there when the songs are as good as Demons Don’t Get Me Down?
There wasn’t a lot of chit-chat; but Lindi did introduce the title track from Faded Gloryville by explaining it was a fictitious town with a fictitious hotel that ‘tired and emotional’ musicians and actors visit when things aren’t going too well in their careers. Some stay longer than others; and some stay forever – the song itself was as gloomy and beautiful a piece of Southern Gothic as you will ever hear; and I’m a fan of both Nick Cave and the Handsome Family!
With four albums to choose from; it was possibly surprising to hear three cover songs included tonight; but fans who follow her on You Tube will know she is quite prolific in this area and her choices tonight were exemplary. Cher’s Bang-Bang was particularly eerie; and the Bee Gees To Love Somebody has been covered by some truly great singers; but I can’t imagine anyone has made it sound like a stalkers mantra before.
Another song from the much maligned Faded Gloryville album; Tell It Like It Is; took on a whole new life tonight; with Lindi becoming a predatory temptress as she inhabited the character she was singing about.
The near two hour set; flew by, and the three encores were all highlights of an exceptional concert, with her take on Sam Cooke’s Bring It On Home (To Me) making tears well up in my eyes, and Tin Star was almost anthemic; but the song that ended the evening was an absolute doozy. It’s a brave singer who takes on Ring of Fire; and then have the audacity to change the tempo so she can wring every last drop of pathos out of it; but Lindi Ortega did just that and made this tired old song as sharp as a tack and pretty damn beautiful.
Lindi Ortega – watch this space; as she is about to take a leap into the Big Time very, very soon.
Photo-set courtesy Harrisonaphotos http://www.harrisonaphotos.co.uk/Music/Lindi-Ortega/