Jack Penate

Jack Penate

At the time, Jack Penate was the snake-hipped poster boy set for stardom. Where did he go?

Date: October 25, 2009

Venue: Nottingham Trent University

How the kids must have been torn between two chart-friendly artists, and on a Sunday night as well.

The dilemma: spend your money on Calvin Harris’s disco tomfoolery at Rock City, or opt for loveable, foppish cockney soul boy Jack Penate at Trent Uni.

The smart kids who chose wisely and came to the uni would not have been disappointed, because while knob-twiddling, Scottish Twitter-obsessive Harris has all the dance tunes, Jack has all the best tunes.

He’s an amiable character this fella, full of wide-eyed optimism and bewitching charm. His beguiling shyness, refreshing deference and appreciative connectivity with his fans ensures girls want to rip the shirt from his back, while his dazzling guitar work provides the boys with their new indie hero.

There was pre-gig concern that Jack might shun his past, as he himself publicly condemned his debut effort for being a little too Mockney and unrepresentative, but at least we get to hear its better moments.

Shuffling around the stage like Elvis with pants made of wasps, Torn On The Platform’s inherent personal conflict is delivered with unabashed rockabilly style, as Jack reluctantly waves goodbye to his dear London on the 2 o’clock from Waterloo, while Spit At Stars has been chiseled from a rough average indie rock into a gleaming pop gem.

There’s also the mature new batch, which Jack is so proud of. And with good reason. Everything Is New is an energetic, thumping mission statement; Pull My Heart Away is forlorn yet lovely, and the crowd goes nuts for the funky, shoutalong single, Be The One.

Deftly witty, literate and charming, Jack’s matured all right, but he’s still a lovable pop scamp at heart.

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