The World Cafe is a great live venue. But Jesse Malin and the Heat just seemed a little out of place playing here. He's not used to playing at a venue where people are mostly sitting down at tables and some are eating during the show. There are some areas to stand in the middle and near the stage and back by the bar. But otherwise, it's seems kind of tame compared to what he's used to seeing. I think most of his Philly shows over the years have either been at the Trocadero or the North Star. When he went on stage the first thing he said was, "Come on, get up people. This isn't a fucking Howard Johnson's."
Matt Azzarto was decent as an opening act playing about 12 songs with just him and a guitar, sounding like a cross between Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan. He mentioned that he co-wrote or contributed songs to albums by artists like Malin, Pete Yorn, and several others.
During the break in between sets, they played mostly Clash, Replacements, and old Motown songs. So that was cool. And Malin covered Springsteen's "Hungry Heart" on a b-side a few years back. And Bruce sings co-lead vocals on "Broken Radio" on his new album. So naturally, there are probably like a half dozen obsessive Springsteen diehards at every Malin show now. They'll follow anyone who Bruce has any involvement with. I spotted a few at this one wearing Stone Pony and Asbury Park t-shirts.
Malin gave props to WXPN throughout the night saying what a cool station it was and how he heard a Graham Parker song playing while he took a piss earlier, so in his mind that was a pretty cool station. And he told a funny story about how when he was in Europe promoting his first album, the European press was insistent that he explain his music. They said, "You sound like a combination of Springsteen and Johnny Thunders. Which is it?" And he said I guess Springsteen then, since he didn't want to end up like Thunders.
He also told a great story about going to this high school in Queens in the mid 80's that had very lax attendance standards. Actress Diane Lane went there too around the same time. And Steven Tyler went there many years before. You basically went when you felt like going and everybody graduated with pass/fail marks. So he got his parents to ask his grandmother to pay for it and that gave him a chance to go on tour with his band Heart Attack and just put his time in at school. And then there was a big story in Spin about this place around 10 years ago about how the diplomas were voided because the school didn't meet the standards. And now a lot of famous people had to fight to make their diplomas legal.
He also told a great story about Joe Strummer before he played "Death or Glory." He said Strummer was always friendly. He met him 2 or 3 times and Strummer was always eager to talk about anything. You could ask him a question about a lyric or a chord in some obscure Clash song and he'd talk about it with you for 10 minutes. He made a joke about how if you asked Gene Simmons the same questions he'd ask you to send him $19.99 before answering it. Of all the celebrity deaths of the past decade or so, Strummer's has probably affected me the most. Here was a really good, thoughtful person, who took care of himself (outside of the abuse that almost every musician does to their body in their younger years) and wanted to make a difference in the world. And yet he died from a freak heart attack at age 49 with no inkling that anything was wrong with him before that.
Overall, it was a good show and the band sounded great. 23 songs in a little over 2 hours. And the second encore seemed somewhat spontaneous. A big chunk of the songs (9 to be exact) came from the new album Glitter in the Gutter. And 8 more came from his solo debut album The Fine Art of Self-Destruction. Only 3 songs from his sophomore solo album The Heat, which was kind of surprising.
1. Riding on the Subway
2. Prisoners of Paradise
3. Black Haired Girl
5. Little Star
6. Don't Let Them Take You Down (Beautfiul Day)
7. Tomorrow Tonight
8. Broken Radio
10. Almost Grown
11. Hotel Columbia
(lots of banter during this song, band introductions, a few stories, etc)
13. (unknown cover)
15. Swingin' Man
16. Cigarettes & Violets
18. In a Modern World
19. NY Nights
20. Death or Glory (The Clash)
22. Going Out West
23. Hungry Heart (Springsteen)