Live Review: Jack Savoretti - The Sugar Club, Mon 2nd Sept
Review by Claire McConnell
The Sugar Club is packed to capacity as Jack Savoretti and band take to the stage, greeting the crowd quietly and respectfully before launching into Written in Scars, the title track to his new album. His last gig in Ireland was at the illustrious Ruby Sessions in Doyles which he admits was “a hugely intimidating experience” due to its well earned reputation.
Here in the surrounds of the former The Irish Film Theatre, the atmosphere very quickly turns from that of piqued anticipation to warm appreciation as Savoretti’s honeysuckle-soaked-in-whisky vocals soar through the room. His band is tight and lend skilfully to the performance, whilst always only giving the songs just what they need.
Backed by BMG Chrysalis, Written in Scars is his fourth studio release having been through the wars with various record companies in the past and almost quitting music for good. Tonight, his experience shows in his performance and he owns it. You get a sense that he has grown into his voice and musicality and delivers his set, a mixture of old and new material with charisma and confidence.
Having previously been described as making “music that you put onto cds to make girls fall in love with you”, the new material takes a very different shape to his previous works. With more of a focus on rhythm and a looser, more circular structure, he has almost perfected the art of writing pop songs. That is to say, that new songs such as Home, Back to Me and Other Side of Love are anthemic in their nature, much more accessible and could easily work as single releases, fitting into radio edit requirements with little rework.
Savoretti blends the up-tempo with some solo acoustic tracks. Once Upon a Street is a beautiful country –tinged folk song which he explains was inspired by his father who constantly played Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash to him when he was a child, before sliding into his own rendition of the track, much to the delight of the crowd. He has built up and maintains a strong rapport with his fans throughout the show tonight and in general via his online media presence and impressive PR train. He calls for pints of Guinness on stage realising that drinking Chianti in Dublin is “just ridiculous”. Various catcalls and swoons from the crowd throughout the set lend to the relaxed vibe of the night and cause quite a few outbursts of giggles, but who can blame them, the boy is beautiful and he is clearly adept at handling this kind of attention.
He opens the encore with a relatively unknown cover by Bob Dylan entitled Nobody ‘Cept You which he explains he discovered by chance when listening to a bootleg in Jackson Browne’s studio several years ago. The show closes with Come Shine a Light and the driving chorus has the crowd on their feet and clapping along as the band exit the stage and head straight to the merch table.
Perhaps it was the lack of industry backing that has held him from getting the attention he deserves until now or perhaps it simply happened for a reason, to allow him to cut his teeth and find his voice. One thing is for sure, the next show he plays here won’t just be packed with ardent Monday night gig-goers in a bizarrely snowy Dublin, Jack Savoretti’s star is very much in the ascension, you’ll see. I love to say I told you so.