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Saint Jacky's Day,
Jack L, Whelans, March 17th

Picture the scene: It's your first gig in months, you're showcasing new material and a new band, the audience is in raptures, you're halfway through the set and your mike breaks. You get a new mike - it breaks too.

This would have upset a lesser man, but not Jack Lukeman. Jack called for silence, jumped up on a table and launched into Old Man River with such power that, despite the lack of a mike, reached right to the back of Whelans. It was mesmerising.

Jack L just gets better all the time. The new band suit him perfectly. They have enough visual personality not to be drown in the front-mans shadow. Dave Constantine, in particular, provided a contrast to Jacks dark, brooding presence with his bleach-blonde, Stipe-esque good looks.

The new material not only compares well to his older stuff, the fact that theyre his own gives them a fresh personal resonance missing from his covers. Still, his interpretations of Brels My Death, Amsterdam, If We Only Have Love and Lockman, along with Scott Walkers 30 Century Man are still brilliant, as are his own Remain Silent and Fear is the Key.

The coup de grace came with the encores: an emotive version of Leonard Cohens Hallelujah and, as usual, his high camp version of Brels Jacky, complete with top hat, cloak and cane.

Jack L has the incredible ability to make you forget the rest of the audience so that it seems as if hes serenading you alone. Henceforth, March the 17th shall be known as St. Jacks Day.

by Donnacha DeLong and Olivia Fox.