We knew we were in for something special from the moment Jesse Malin and band made their way across the room to the Pony Boy’s intimate stage. The swagger, the air of confidence, whatever you want to call it, the dapper dressed Malin was in possession of it. Actually, I had a good feeling about this one in the weeks leading up to it. Malin’s new album, Sunset Kids, is effulgent, and likely to top many a year end lists celebrating the best albums of 2019. So with that in mind, and knowing his setlist would center around the newer material, it would have been odd indeed to have expected anything but a wonderful night of music.
I’ve followed Malin’s career for a good little bit; from his days of fronting D Generation, to be specific. I’ve always had a lean towards music with a punkish attitude, be it Black Flag, Patti Smith or countless others. Malin’s aforementioned swagger has always hit the mark with me, and I’ve found it an unencumbered task to travel genres with him from rakish punk attitude to emotive heart on a sleeve serenades. He’s an underrated master of his craft, and with Sunset Kids, has really hit his stride. Or perhaps, recaptured it. His 2002 debut, The Fine Art Of Self Destruction (produced by Ryan Adams) was his first real flash of songwriting brilliance for me, which was followed in 2003 with his and Adams light-hearted hardcore punk project, The Finger. While we didn’t get treated to any of those harder edged songs, we did hear a few (“Wendy,” “Brooklyn,” “Downliner”) from the solo debut, and a wealth of cuts from Sunset Kids which was produced by Lucinda Williams. Tracks like the opening, “Do You Really Wanna Know’, as well as current single “Room 13,” “Chemical Heart,” “Shane” and the ending, “Meet Me at the End of the World,” all proved how significant an album Sunset Kids is, and the seeming ease with which Malin and his talented band recreated them in a live setting. Malin is one hell of a front man, creating an almost soulful revival feel to his show. I can’t recommend catching this tour enough. Be sure and check out all the dates and other info here: http://www.jessemalin.com
Opening for Malin on this run of dates was an extra special treat in and of itself. The lovely Diane Gentile. Accompanied by Rob Ritchie on guitar, Gentile confidently forged through a few early technical issues like the veteran she is, and warmed up the audience with her acoustic renditions of songs from her newest effort. Diane Gentile (and the Gentlemen) released her new Jesse Malin produced EP Little Things back in July, and is starting to gain some well deserved recognition. In addition to a call-out from Rolling Stone magazine, her new song “Perfect People” is going to be Little Steven Van Zandt’s “Coolest Song in the World” throughout November on Underground Garage on Sirius Satellite Radio. It’s not Gentile’s first song to be bestowed the honor by Little Steven. A few years back, it was her song, “Motorcycle” (produced by none other than Steve Wynn). In addition to these two extremely “cool” songs, Gentile treated us to “Little Things,” Joe” and “Second Hand Heart” from the current release. Much like Malin, Gentile’s performance was one defined by swagger and confidence. Gentile was the one time general and booking manager of New York City’s Bowery Electric, and she carries her New York sensibilities as a badge of honor. I definitely encourage our readers to look into Diane and the Gentlemen by visiting here: http://www.dianegentile.com/