Sam Burcher dot com

Sam Burcher, news views and bits inbetween......
Total Site Hits

Sam Burcher reviews Jonathan Jeremiah at The Borderline, 6th December 2010

jonathan jeremiah smLast night I went to hear Jonathan Jeremiah sing at the Borderline.  I was there on the recommendation of Robert Elms (who is a fellow Blitz Kid and Radio London DJ) and to support what’s left of London’s small music venues.

The evening didn’t get off to the best of starts.  The two tickets that I booked online had failed to arrive in the morning post, which nowadays is more like the afternoon post. So, with my printer out of action, I had to take my netbook along to the Borderline with my email receipt saved to the desktop as proof of purchase.  It was only after a flurry of confusion that seemed to involve all the strangest feelings I’ve ever had going into a club, that my tickets were traced on their system.

After prising open the door into the venue, which seemed conspiratorially shut to a small band of latecomers, we were in, standing stock still on the stairs in the spindly presence and luxurious voice that is Jonathan Jeremiah.  Looking suitably Christ like, sporting a beard and flowing hair, JJ was flanked by an understated and talented band of disciples playing trumpet, double bass, violins and soft shuffle drums, and sounding like a stunningly redolent hybrid of a young Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis and Phil Lynott, with a little something extra.

Jeremiah was in constant dialogue with his band, encouraging them after each song, saying 'we’re getting through these' which appeared to be another sign of their faith in him to lead them on the stage.  The sheer balls of getting up in front of an edgy Monday night crowd, made more edgy by the nicotine ban, is something to behold in any performer, never mind one who appears to be pushing himself to physical and mental limits to show us what he can do.

An additional highlight to the blissful swing of JJ’s voice on the sublime See (It doesn’t bother me) was the staccato vocal harmonies on Tough Times, which rapidly entered the brain by doubling up on his sound. The weakness was perhaps in the similarity of the tunes, including the debut album track Solitary Man, which apparently was written on his Greyhound bus tour of America. But this is sameness is nothing that a deservedly successful and varied recording career could not sort out.

After dismissing his band from the stage ever so nicely, we were treated to two extra wild card songs, one being an acoustic guitar version of Massive Attack’s Protection. Despite his repeated assurances that we were all going to catch our last train home, I had a feeling as we left the gritty little club on Mannette Street that the Addison Lee people carrier with its engine running and blacked out windows was waiting outside for the very talented Jonathan Jeremiah and his acolytes.

All in all, the Jonathan Jeremiah experience wasn’t just a London thing.  It was a universal, conscious and integrated show of faith; not just in himself and his music, but in his band, and in us, the audience.  I’m a convert spreading the word.