Show Review: Jay Nash at Red Devil Lounge, 5/11/2012

by Stacy Scales on May 15, 2012

Don’t you hate it when you’ve totally been looking forward to an event and then when it actually rolls around, something comes up that completely hinders your ability to enjoy it as much as you’d planned to? Sadly, that was my experience Friday night last. The thing I look forward to is, of course, seeing great live music. In this particular case, it was Jay Nash I’d been anticipating seeing again, at the Red Devil Lounge. Jay’s newest EP, Of the Woods, was just released last week, so of course I was also excited to hear the new material.

After an uncharacteristically hectic (and characteristically stressful) afternoon at my day job, I managed to get myself to San Francisco about an hour before doors at the Red Devil opened. Unfortunately, however, somewhere along the two hours of non-stop rush hour traffic it’d taken me to get there, I’d started feeling really lousy. Not willing to skip out on a commitment, much less a show, I stood around in the chilly weather anyway until at last they let us in. The small bar slowly began to fill up with rowdy, excited Friday night concert-goers. I admit, I hadn’t heard of Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers before the evening began, but as the headliners had sold the show out, I was excited to give them a listen, even if not feeling well. When eventually Jay took the stage, the first thing he said was that he could barely hear over the crowd. To my disappointment, I could barely hear or see him, either. I caught a great opening guitar solo that lead into “River Siren,” which is a song I really enjoy live.

After that first song, Jay addressed the noisy bunch, saying “here’s what we’re gonna do: you’re gonna shut the fuck up, and I’ll sing.” I admit it: I cheered as loud as I could from my spot back near the door when he said that. So did a few others, and for a few minutes, it seemed that his plea for respect and attention was heeded. The next song, “Never Take Too Long,” was a new one, and was followed by “Till I Get Through” from March’s EP, Diamonds and Blood. Jay said the next song, “Long Gone,” was a song about the good old days, and then mentioned that the one that followed it was “another one about bad behavior.” The song? “Baby Tornado,” of course.

After overhearing an intoxicated woman nearby compare Mr. Nash’s voice to that of Kenny Loggins, I laughed at Jay’s standard apology for the “sad bastard music” that he said he knew was “difficult to dance to.” “Labor Day Blues” was next, and then a song I’m pretty sure I heard Jay say was literally about a fist fight (“Hard Lesson”). Finally, he closed his set with the true story that is “Oogly Boogly,” and I frowned in disappointment that he wasn’t given the applause I believe he deserves.

It didn’t take long for him to clear off the stage, but as Mr. Clyne and his Peacemakers prepared to go on, I sat there frustrated. I’m not one to leave a show early, like, ever. And yet, all I could think about was getting home and into bed. About halfway through the band’s second song, I knew this was a set I normally would have really enjoyed listening to, were I feeling better or better able to hear the lyrics or melody. Disappointed in myself, I decided to fold, and headed home early. Ultimately, though, I’m still happy I went. Even if I couldn’t hear Jay’s set as well as I might have liked, I did still hear some of the new material live, and it’s always nice to check in with your faves when they’re in town. Yes, I’m beating myself up for not having been the “trooper” I pride myself on being, but at least I went, and I caught all of Jay’s set, and said a quick hello. Next time I see him I hope the circumstances will be better (and the performance a lengthier one, as well). And as for those Peacemakers…well, I believe I owe them an apology, and more importantly, a real review next time they come to town!

Stacy Scales

California native. Word nerd. Music lover. Linguaphile. Amateur foodie. Basketball junkie. Travel enthusiast. Future therapist.

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