Bap Kennedy

Review Date March 6, 2012

Review By Alan Harrison

Location The Boogaloo, Highgate, London

Wearing a trilby at a jaunty angle and being tall, skinny and possessing a voice like a young Tom Waits the young Texan Jarrod Dickenson cuts an odd looking figure on the stage but his songs are all extremely well-crafted with melodies many of his peers would give their left arm for; but it’s his world-weary voice and phrasing that will win him legions of admirers in the very near future. “California,” about the haunting memories of an ex-love was simply breathtaking and “Ballad Of A Lonesome Traveler” will resonate with musicians and traveling salesmen everywhere. Jarrod Dickenson-a name to watch out for. Bap’s evening got off to a swinging start with an old song dedicated to and written about Elvis-“Be Careful What You Wish For£ which was followed by “Domestic Blues” that Bap reminded us had been the theme to a BBC R4 comedy programme. With a new album to promote Kennedy kept the latest songs to a minimum although when he did play “Please Return To Jesus” and “Jimmy Sanchez” they both had an extra “kick’ to them that can only come from being played live. Much of the rest of the night was a celebration of his earlier work with “Vampire” and “Howl On” reminding me what a genuinely great songwriter he is. Thoroughly enjoying himself on a stage that was surrounded by friends, Bap regaled us with a couple of bad jokes and some endearing stories, especially the one that introduced “Moonlight Kiss” which was featured in the hit movie Serendipity and the song itself was better than beautiful. Bearing in mind how much I enjoyed everything else, the two absolute highlights of the evening were when the hastily put together band; that included Gordy McAllister (nearly stealing the show) on semi-acoustic guitar and an impossibly pretty and young-looking Mrs. Brenda Kennedy on bass rocked out on Hank’s “Rambling Man” and turned the bar into a Nashville honky-tonk for 4 minutes and the look on Bap’s face as he dedicated “The Beauty Of You” to his wife, Brenda who was standing right next to him. Now that’s what a love song is for! The evening ended with a comical “will they/won’t they’ do another encore that hastily followed a discussion about which songs they all knew! The choice was the Energy Orchard standard “Sailortown” about Kennedy’s hometown of Belfast and a more fitting end to a great night I couldn’t think of.

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