Admittedly I was not previously a fan of Jesse Clegg. I had heard his 2008 debut, When I Wake Up and thought ‘hmmm’.
So on entering the Gatta Patat theatre at the Cape Diamond Hotel I was not expecting much. Clegg’s first words were that they had just driven for 12 hours all the way from Bloemfontein to start their SA national tour so they were pretty knackered. But this didn’t show at all.
Soft rock and acoustic sets were just what my soul needed that week. Never did I feel as though the music stopped.
This was not an ideal venue either acoustically or spatially, or maybe I just sat at a crappy table. Yet Jesse Clegg tailored their interpretation to the occasion, giving us a big performance for a small space, timeless – as befitted the late-night atmosphere – and well-considered, with playing that was rarely loud or exaggerated. Instead, the band drew us in with unassuming melodies, shaped with restraint and crucially never dull or dreary as so often happens with acoustic/soft rock.
The evening was about sublime minimalism, and the crowd loved it. It was a fairly weird crowd but hey, everyone was there to enjoy the music. I caught myself tapping my foot every so often, and surprised myself with the thought “Jesse Clegg – I dig your music”. This soft rock, three man band can get up on any stage and warm millions of hearts.
Catch Jesse Clegg on his Great Escapes national tour on 27 July in East London, 29 July in Durban and 30 July in Johannesburg.