Dallas Green never even saw this coming. His self-confessed ‘soft songs’ were only supposed to be for him to play, to help him work through some issues or jam the kinks out of tunes for his day job in Alexisonfire. They weren’t supposed to be flown around the world and performed in front of awe-filled and attentive audiences. But that’s how it is.
Despite the early doors (enforced so that 65 Days Of Static, playing upstairs tonight, don’t thud the show to death from above) the Barfly is full. Which means plenty of people get to hear Stuart Lee’s Radiohead-ian brilliance. Alone on stage but armed with keyboard, drum machine and the Jacob’s Stories moniker, it’s the mantra piano of ‘A Night With Steve’, hypnotic chirping of ‘Unfinished Idea’ and lilting but commanding nature of Lee’s voice that deserve to make the man a millionaire.
None of this is about the big bucks though. When the headliner has to squeeze through the crowd to get to the stage and tune his own guitar, a Chris Carrabba-type confessional is clearly not on the cards. Green doesn’t even cut a very demanding figure once he’s up there; in fact he looks a little dazed, like he still can’t believe that people want to see him this way. It’s his songs that compel all the attention. In between digs at the British transport system and the LostProphet’s ‘interesting’ haircuts tunes like ‘Hello, I’m In Delaware’ and ‘Comin’ Home’ are transformed. Fragile ballads on CD are stretched out into powerful moving tales, infused with genuine heart and real tragedy. During ‘Save Your Scissors’ Green asks the crowd to sing but few people do, eager to get the man himself back to the microphone. That he can do this; talk to the crowd with good humour, modesty and respect, and never miss a beat during heartfelt performances of ‘Sometimes’ and ‘Missing’, is enchanting.
The city was London and the colours were vivid and sharp. Even if Green never meant it to be this way, tonight was simply breathtaking.
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