Published on February 13th, 2018 | by Mike Ainscoe0
Luke Jackson: The Met, Bury – Live Review
Venue: The Met
Well known to the ranks of the FATEA team and readers, it seems hard to believe, as the young man Jackson himself noted on the night, that his first album appeared in 2011; a mere seven years ago. While we’re on a nostalgic vein, it was also a few years back, at the end of 2012 I believe, that he first appeared at The Met, fully fringed and fresh faced, as part of a lengthy tour supporting his mentor Martyn Joseph. The main man kidded that night that he was envious of the talent his young partner had as they duetted on ‘Baker’s Woods’ (I think). Prophetic.
It feels like Luke’s been around forever and no doubt he will be for a few more years to come. Of late, he’s partnered up for co-headlining tours with Amy Wadge – you know her, of the Ed Sheeran collaboration fame and to be honest a darn impressive musician in her own right. The opening date of this year’s duo tour suddenly assumed the tour tagline of ‘the show must go on’ with an illness sadly sidelining Amy Wadge. The promise of some impromptu guests being added to the bill later on the tour meant that Bury saw Mr Jackson elevated to solo headline status. Not that he can’t handle it and to be fair, a show with two halves of Luke Jackson is hardly a trial.
With four albums and a new live one about to hit the shelves, he’s hardly short of material, not that he relies on anything like static set. Already a student who absorbs the influences and the music of his ever wider travels (he talked about a songwriting train trip departing from Halifax – no need to clarify that it was Halifax, Nova Scotia rather than it’s possibly less glamorous West Yorkshire namesake), he has plenty to share.
Especially when he dug a little deeper into his songbook (it must be one of tardis type ones that looks small yet holds a huge library) and was able to regale The Met with a set of songs that took on a journey that aside from a couple of very welcome reappearances of songs from his debut album – the More Than Boys title track and what could well be a contender for his best song, Last Train – gave an indication of his musical journey. He can even omit such heavyweight staples of his catalogue – no brooding ‘Sister’ or ‘Father’s Footsteps’ – as he delivered random picks from the Jackson jukebox.
From Tom Petty and Simon & Garfunkel to the Beatles and a soul section channelling Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye and Solomon Burke. Even, naturally, a nod to Dylan and then the threat of S Club Seven. He may well be the closest we have to the old delta bluesmen, with a modern twist coming with a touch of reverb and a flat cap; maybe a concession to the Twenties Peaky Blinders fashion trend. Showing his guitar prowess on ‘Ain’t No Trouble’ it’s when he puts down the instrument (apparently, it’s one of Amy Wadge’s guitars) and croons out “I was born by the river” in the familiar unaccompanied ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ , you realise he’s really doing what it’s taken Billy Bragg decades to discover. There’s a final trip round the tables and up into the tiered seats playing out ‘Make It Rain’ before playing the final notes as he disappeared offstage.
An apt reminder that while some consider themselves to be lucky enough to be watching Ed Sheeran in a stadium sometime this coming Summer, those that fill the small rooms to watch Luke Jackson will be the ones who’ve had the best deal.