Live Review: Jerry Leger & The Situation + Anton O’Donnell – Glad Cafe, Glasgow, 21st May 2024

Picture: Paul Kerr

Back with his full band after a well-regarded solo tour last year, Jerry Leger has used this tour to play his latest album ‘Donlands’ in full, start to finish, on all the dates. It’s a brave move as not everyone here tonight can be expected to know the album but the songs, Leger’s reflections on the sounds of Tin Pan Alley and the Brill Building, teenage rock’n’roll and vintage R’n’B, coalesce quite brilliantly in the first half of tonight’s set. He’s helped in no mean sense by the excellence of his band, The Situation. Keyboard player Alan Zemaitis coaxes so many simpatico sounds from his electric keyboard throughout the night while drummer Kyle Sullivan is simply superb, his percussive notes unfussy and understated but quite essential. They’re anchored by the bass playing of Dan Mock, for the most part rock solid while also able to add some funky fuzz when required.

The band came on stage as The Platters’ ‘My Prayer’ played, an indication of the hinterland of ‘Donlands’, the album so called after the Toronto theatre it was recorded in, and kicked into ‘Sort Me Out’, the opening track on the album. It’s a gentle song, a quest of sorts and it wafts quite brilliantly tonight. There’s a bounce to ‘I Was Right To Doubt Her’ with its squirrelling organ on this noirish tale of love and revenge and Zemaitis’ keyboards are also at the heart of the beguiling waltz which is ‘I’ll Stay’.

Picture Paul Kerr

Running through the album, highlights were an immaculate rendition of ‘The Flower & The Dirt’, an aching song of heartache, the funky delivery of ‘You Carry Me’ and the pleading ‘Out There Like The Rain’. Best of all was the towering ‘Slow Night In Nowhere Town’, a song suffused with the melancholic pop majesty of Gene Pitney or Lee Hazlewood.

Picture Paul Kerr

The album done and dusted, Leger and the band proceeded to deliver some older songs beginning with a song from his album ‘Early Riser’, ‘Cashing In’, before launching into ‘Have You Ever Been Happy’, a song eagerly applauded by the crowd as was the power pop surge of ‘Kill It With Kindness’. Revving it up they raced through a pulverising ‘Big Smoke Blues’ and then a brooding delivery of ‘Factory Made’, a song which rivals Steve Wynn’s Dream Syndicate in its guitar-led drama. An encore was of course demanded but with the band having gone past the venue’s witching hour it was left to Leger to bounce back on stage to sing ‘Nothing Pressing’, a request from the show’s promoter it transpired. Nevertheless, bereft of his band, Leger had the crowd in an awed silence as he sang this beautiful song.

Picture Paul Kerr

Tonight’s support slot was filled by Glasgow’s Anton O’Donnell, a previous winner of AUK’s Twang Factor. Unveiling several songs from his new album ‘Tomber Sur PRW’ including a very fine rendition of ‘Dreams Fade Under The Weight’ along with some older numbers such as the delicate ‘Gypsy Heart’, O’Donnell, with his wry song introductions, is a seasoned performer and, as evidenced tonight, quite a songwriter.

About Paul Kerr 438 Articles
Still searching for the Holy Grail, a 10/10 album, so keep sending them in.
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Alan Peatfield

We made the trip up from Lincs to Newcastle’s Cluny to catch Jerry (and Kim Richey the following night). Jerry was absolutely fantastic and your review Paul mirrored our feelings exactly. A shame the crowd was somewhat sparse … although they did make some serious noise making him feel very welcome. A shout out for the support act Tom Blackwell with a very good set of songs, great voice and presentation.