Last night I headed (rather shamefully for the first time) to Newcastle’s best venue, The Cluny to see a certain Mr. Lewis and his brand new backing band, The Junkyard. The Cluny is a beautiful little place, located in a very threatening-looking area, but after the trepidation of walking there, all worries are extinguished once you get into the industrial-looking bar and the underground back room. With a raised bar area and narrow little performance space and a lot of tasteful exposed brickwork, it really is a lovely place to head for a gig. Now, other than my Location Location Location style love of the venue, the night was amazing for a whole other reason.

I’ve heard quite a bit about Jeffrey Lewis’ stage shows before, but wasn’t quite prepared for the sheer brillliance of it all. Any artist who can seamlessly switch between solo guitar ‘n’ vocals ditties to out-and-out punk tracks to full-band ’50s inflected pop songs in one show is a genius any way, but three particular points to this night astounded me more than others:

1) He created some kind of insane ambient noise soundscape and I enjoyed it. If he can make me enjoy that, he can make me enjoy anything.

2) The animated song sections were excellent. With a Macbook, the rest of the band and a projector, Jeffrey treated us to a fairy tale about a magic rock, a horror story about an ever-growing brain and a lecture on the rise of Communism in Korea (No. 5 in a series about Communism in general apparently)

3) “Roll Bus Roll” closed the set and genuinely has the potential to become an alt-anthem, it’s just beautiful.

Basically, if you get the chance to see this polymathic, talented, wonderful bastard of a man any time soon, I urge you to take it, it will be an amazing night.

Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard – Roll Bus Roll (YSI)
Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard – Broken Broken Broken Heart (YSI)