Alternative rocker Jesse Malin played a high energy, 20-song set to a packed house at New York’s Bowery Ballroom, to celebrate the release of New York Before The War, Malin’s newest album of songs.
Opener Steve Wynn & the Miracle 3 roused the crowd with a set that began with the melodic “Resolution” from the group’s Northern Aggression album and ended with “Amphetamine,” an upbeat rocker.
Jesse Malin has a unique ability to connect with his audiences on both musical and personal levels. He opened the night by explaining that the new album was not just about New York, because “we’re all connected now,” referring to the technology-driven world we live in. Then he launched into “Addicted,” from the new album. Other set selections from the new record were “Bar Life” and “Boots of Immigration.” Malin’s band, the St. Marks Social, is comprised of guitarist Derek Cruz, keyboard player Michelle Casilla, bassist Catherine Popper and drummer Randy Schrager. With saxophonist Danny Rey, trombonist Robert Donnelly and famed trumpeter Satish of Indofunk also thrown into the mix, the band created a perfect musical fusion that flowed flawlessly with Jesse Malin’s signature alternative rock edge.
Other highlights during the non-stop, no-holds-barred night of electrifying music were “Wendy” from The Fine Art of Self Destruction, rousing covers of the Pogues’ “If I Should Fall from the Grace of God,” the Ramones “Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio,” the Clash’s “Stay Free” and the Lou Reed classic “Sally Can’t Dance,” which saw Steve Wynne join Jesse Malin on stage.
Toward the end of what was a magical musical Malin journey, he walked off the stage through the crowd. He then planted himself in the middle of the floor and everyone crouched down on it with him, once again forging the musical and personal connection that can best be understood by experiencing it firsthand.
—Howard B. Leibowitz