Jenn Bostic - The Borderline, London
Sometimes you witness something pretty amazing at a live gig, something you don't expect. The last time for me was John Murry's performance of 'Little Coloured Balloons' at End Of the Road Festival in August, and tonight has given me another of those moments: Jenn Bostic singing 'Jealous Of The Angels' accompanied by only a keyboard. The Borderline always has its share of bar-hangers who are just there to chatter but the room was silent about an hour into the gig. The singer-songwriter led into the song by explaining the story behind it - the tragic death of her father when she was just ten years old - and the crowd went with her. It was a genuinely moving few minutes.
Being a recent convert to Jenn (her album Jealous is fantastic) I was surprised to find the venue was a little on the quiet side. As a live act she has everything you could want: a really great voice, she's enormously likeable, and importantly she has a fine selection of songs. Dressed in a sparkly dress and leading her first full band show in the UK she kept the room entertained with stories of driving into a co-writer's garage door and the subsequent bill; the song her husband is still learning to like ('I Don't Like You At All') and the lonely early days at Berklee College of Music.
Book-ending the main set with big hitters 'Change' and 'Not Yet' was a great way to showcase her ability to write catchy pop songs, alongside the more personal tunes. The encore of the fun (and audience requested) 'Gay Or Taken', which the session guitarist accompanying Jenn on tour played with distinction, and raucous cover of 'Love Me Like A Man', felt looser than the main set. There were also two new songs showcased tonight which suggest a progression of her sound, keeping the immediacy of the best tracks from her current album.
I'd thoroughly recommend catching Jenn Bostic on this full band tour; she's visiting most of the UK over the next ten or so days. Full dates are available on her website.