Jay Brannan: Live In Nottingham

I was lucky enough to get to see Mr Brannan live in Nottingham yesterday evening, and what a treat it was. I do love Mr Brannan but as he is a rather glum fellow I was expecting a night of beautiful singing by a beautiful man that would ultimately make me feel rather crappy and not being able to trust any man I gave my heart to. How wrong I was.

I suppose (and this makes me a little sad to do so) I will introduce Jay Brannan to you. He is folksy style man and his guitar type singer who sings about his pain and loss and generaly about how crappy the world is. However he is a cut above the rest, first for the fact this man has the most beautiful voice known to man and second that he presents the content of his songs, which is mainly about the world of man on man love, in a fashion I have never heard of before. Instead of his songs being about being gay they are simply about a man who happens to be rather unlucky in love with other men. He also has strong religious and political views which are presented in a funny and thought provoking way. Singing is not his only talent, I was introduced to Jay in the film ‘Shortbus‘ a film by John Cameron Mitchell (the director of Hedwig and the Angry Inch) about love, sex and relationships and Jay belonged to the story about a three way relationship. He also starred in Holding Trevor, which I haven’t seen yet but I hear is very good, if you have seen it and fancy writing a review for us send it to [email protected]

Set in the rather cosy ‘The Bodega Social Club‘ (which had rather spicy and salty potato wedges which I DO NOT recommend) in Nottingham the night was spread across three wonderful acts which began with a local girl, Natalie Duncan. Who came across a little like Heather Nova mixed in with a touch of Alicia Keys. She had an incredibly strong voice with catchy tunes that could take her far. I advise you hunt her out. However I would like to slap her as she constantly wanted to apologise for being drunk, not sounding the greatest, not remembering words of songs etc. When in fact no one cared if she had been drinking, she sounded incredible and we had never heard her songs before and she could have sung anything and the audience would have been non the wiser. Well done, an awesome opening.

After that came ‘Bitch‘ and oh how I love her. Violin in hand with scathing and insightful songs this made the perfect follow up act, although it made me want to see her with her band (Bitch and the Exciting Conclusion) because I think she would be even more awesome with the extra oomff of bass and drums. Her version of ‘Staying Alive’ you can watch just belo.

Then came the main man and it really did make for the most perfect night. Jay was incredible, along with his singing talent which can’t be faulted he was the perfect host for the evening. Some performers when they get on stage seem to forget that they are actually there to entertain and that the collection of people before them have probably spent a lot of time and money to be there on the night. Jay constantly spoke to the audience about his life and music which mirrored the honest nature of his songs, he even went so far to play a request from a guy we knew as his closing song. The songs themselves were a perfect mix of new tracks from his ‘Goddamned’ album ‘Soda Shop’ from ‘Shortbus’ and two covers, one a Joni Mitchell cover and the other a comedy tune originally sang by Margaret Cho about giving good head. If you get the chance to see him, do so you won’t regret it.

Whilst I’m on here I might as well shamelessly self promote, you can read my interview with Jay Brannan in the latest issue of 69 magazine which will be hitting the shelves on September 15th.