After shedding our coats somewhere halfway up and climbing the stairs, we were all of a sudden at our place of arrival, chattering amiably. We walked into the room, there was some music playing. It took me a few seconds to realise that the support act had already started. I noticed because a near sacred atmosphere fell over me, hushing me up. An unkempt young man was sitting on a piano coach, crouched over his guitar as if it was about to disappear or change into something else if he didn't keep a very close watch over it. There was a total silence except for the estranging music and singing. Drinks were ordered like a conversation in church, totally muted.
Two songs were played that way, before Mac Cormack announced that he was going to do something new. That is, stand up and play. The songs were more aggressive, but that did not change his approach to his music. It seems like he tried to make everything as ugly as possible. His presentation aside, most notes were played muted, dissonant notes were flying around my ears, hideous chords played and the hushed, subdued singing accompanied that. We were about to find out what else he could conjure up from his acoustic guitar. A lot.
I am not convinced just from this one show. Listening to the some clips on You Tube, I am a bit more. One of the only things Jesse communicated, was that he had flown all the way from Montreal to meet us. I am glad I caught the earlier train and was on time to listen to him play.
The show got this little extra when Mac Cormack harmonised with himself and started to sample his singing and playing, creating all these layers in his song. One after the other, building his own cathedral in song. When the song ended with Jesse on his knees fiddling with all the knobs on his effect pedals, I was reminded of the lead guitarist in my first band, who kept twiddling on his knees, at ear-splitting level and did not notice that we had all stopped playing, covering our ears. Not for the first time. That was the moment we decided it was time to move on without him. Jesse knew when to stop and vacate the podium for Sophie Hunger, having made an impression that will make me go back to his music. Who knows we may even have a review soon?
You can listen to 'Too Far Into' here:
More music is on Jesse Mac Cormack's Soundcloud page.