Report: Rockfeedback @ iTunes Festival Night 3 - Jack Penate & Golden Silvers, 3/7/09

05 Jul 2009

a resurgent jack penate and effortlesly stylish newcomers golden silvers are on hand for the third night of the itunes festival - of which rockfeedback is covering every night using both film, and old fashioned words.
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This year, Rockfeedback is delighted to be the official blog partner for the rather exciting iTunes Festival, taking place at London's Roundhouse every night in July. Over the course of the festival, we'll not be missing a night, delivering morning-after reports on everyone from Oasis and Bloc Party to Franz Ferdinand and Kasabian playing intimate sets to fans lucky enough to have won tickets to the shows. Within days, we'll also be bringing you exclusive live and interview footage with a selection of them too. Jack Penate and Golden Silvers make up the bill for night 3.

Golden Silvers

[GOLDEN SILVERS]

Admirably, the iTunes Festival has brought together some unlikely artists, and the third night adds teeny-bopping George Michael look-a-like Jack Penate to the bill to show off his surprisingly impressive new sound. Recently, award-winning producer and songwriter Paul Epworth (Bloc Party, Primal Scream, The Rapture, Friendly Fires, Florence and the Machine, Kate Nash and Maximo Park amongst others) has given Penate an extreme musical make-over. Epworth has helped him out of an ugly immature cocoon by dressing him up in kitsch 90's anthemic dance wings and sending him out into the world as a fully fledged singer with a start-over album to be proud of.

So, how is Penate keeping up with this new look and new sound live? And, most importantly, if Everything is New, as the title track suggests, will we still get to see 'that' dance?

The support slot for tonight's Penate show is filled by none other than fresh sounding 80's revivalist band (who are a contradiction in terms in every way) Golden Silvers. There's only the three of them on stage with a drum kit, a bass and frontman Gwilym Gold's illuminated synths, which have been dressed up in their trademark church-organ quilt for good measure. Moving and shaking the world of new disco since claiming Glastonbury's 2008 New Talent Award, the laid-back trio look relaxed on their sparse stage. After playing in front of thousands at the first of Blur's sold out reunion gigs at Hyde Park last night and with Penate's somewhat easy-to-please fanbase in front of them this evening, it's not hard to see why Golden Silvers so confidently cut the young music fans' teeth with their stretched funk bass lines and quirky disco keys.

The band give a patient and mature performance, taking the squeals of young girls with the heckles of larger louts all in their chilled stride. Gold's flat nasal vocals, which lie somewhere between Bragg and Dury, enhance their sound, which works despite the seemingly mismatched mix of styles. The band seems to play tricks with their complex soundscapes passing genres gently to one another like lads in the park with a football. The funky beats and Pet Shop Boys inspired harmonies uplift the young crowd and the fiercely cool threesome leave another audience bopping in delight. This band's talents lie with their casual integrity and instantly recognisable look which seems to hold a crowd captivated.

Change over lasts a few minutes, and we treat ourselves to London sunshine on the cafe roof terrace, munch on freshly cooked barbeque food and sip cold beer, until a theatre bell calls us back in.

Jack Penate

[JACK PENATE]

The venue, like the calling bell, seems fitting for the Jack Penate, a lad who started on the stage as a child actor, leaving school at nine years old to perform in Bugsy Malone. And perform he does, dancing and shaking throughout his first song 'So Near' from Everything is New, like a kid who has eaten too many Smarties. A high spirited crowd of mostly under 18 year olds, the majority of which of course are girls, spin and jumped for the entire set and I wasn't sure whether calls of "I love you Jack" were ironic or not.

Although the new sound is combined with an all new shirt (Jack has metamorphosed out of boyish checked shirts and into a more manly black vests and, tonight, an Aztec jacket Wham! would be proud of) there is still a feeling that Penate is more child's TV presenter "doing rock" than the brooding tortured artist he puts across during the intro of low point 'Let's All Die'. Despite being an actor the happy, chirpy, Jack returns as he asks the crowd to sing along to the song's "catchy" chorus. Perhaps it is Penate's pearly white smile but I can't help but wonder if I'm watching a pop concert or a Disney cartoon gone wrong. Then the answer is clear as, during said chorus, Jack Penate stage dives into the crowd, who carry their hero around on their young shoulders - and I know even Disney couldn't make this up.

With the help of his gutsy guest, ramshackle folk sensation Kid Harpoon, the high energy stage show was an experience and stand out older tracks such as 'Have I Been A Fool' showcase talent who wears past criticism well and who is capable of far more than we once gave him credit for. It was, however, a shame that some more chalk 'n cheese songs from debut album Matinee seasoned the set list creating an inconsistent mix of newer, cooler, anthemic pop tunes and the simpler wares of his earlier material.

The future of Penate seems unclear. All in all, the gig was strangely enjoyable with the estuary popstar crooning happily leaving a fitful crowd desperate to hear more from the old LP they know and love, and keen to investigate the new one, too. If the new tracks really are the new Jack I am sure this audience will also, in time, learn to love those just as much. With that, I suppose a new stage show will temper post-Epworth Jack. Whether a desire to innovate has lead him too far from home only time will tell, but in the meantime if you're after a fun-filled family evening out, Jack's on hand to provide it - and these days, just a little bit more, too.

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