I was really surprised when I saw that Jeff Lang had been announced to play at Paradiso, less surprised to see that it would be in the small room and for only 8 Euro.
The last time I got to see Jeff was at the Fly by Night Club in Fremantle (Western Australia) with one of my greatest mates, and this had made the gig at that time even better. So this gig was clouded with fond memories from the previous time I saw him and with hindsight I question how objective I could be this time around.
And this is all because I know that his style can be a little monotonous, and is a little bit more folk at times than blues for my taste. But in between songs there was that bloody Aussie lilt belting out!
When we arrived at the Paradiso there were about half a dozen punters already there, and standing at the back of the room chatting to them was Jeff himself. Cleanly shaven and sporting an English style flat cap. This was already nothing like the last time I had seen him when he had much longer hair and a beard.
No matter how good or bad a show is, it is not often that I feel sympathy for a performer that I go and see. After all, they are actually doing what most of us hacks would (secretly deep down inside) love to be doing – they are living the dream. But in this instance, when only 14 people (and yes I counted them) have come out to see you perform, it must be tough to give it everything you have.
But to Jeff’s credit, that did not appear to be the case. He gave everything like he would if it was 10,000 people as opposed to just 14. The crowd may have swelled to around the 22 people mark by the end, but the performance was still the same all the way through.
He dutifully made his way through his selections of guitars; a slide steel, an acoustic (or two), and an electric to which he definitely gave his everything.
So was the performance as exciting as seeing him in Australia where he is a much larger identity than he is here in Europe? Yes. Would I make sure I made the trip to support an Ausssie abroad? You bet I would, every night of the week.