Live Review: Jay Brannan @ Crawdaddy, October 16th 2010

Posted: 03/11/2010 in Uncategorized

***As published on on October 20th 2010***

Jay Brannan is a rare breed of musician. The New York native has successfully made a career for himself in music, without any of the common tools of the industry at his disposal. Brannan is entirely independent – he writes his own songs, finances the production of his music himself, uses YouTube as his marketing department, acts as his own agent by personally books any gigs he plays around the world, and releases all his material via the medium of his own label Great Depression Records.

It’s been well over a year since the last time Jay Brannan and his trusty acoustic guitar took to the Crawdaddy stage – and tonight he receives a hero’s welcome back. Given Brannan’s background, there is a feeling of genuine respect amongst the crowd who have gathered to see him perform tonight – this guy just wants to play music to anyone who’s willing to listen to it, without any of the contrived nonsense that artists deeply affected by the music industry tend to display.

The set is opened with a cover of Sinéad O’Connor’s ‘Troy’, a song from her debut album The Lion and the Cobra which Brannan states is “the best thing I have ever listened to”. It’s the first of many allusions to Irish ‘culture’ on behalf of Brannan this evening. He certainly knows his stuff – from quoting Dolores O’Riordan, to referring to the Spire as “the stiletto in the ghetto”, to declaring a fondness for Charlie’s fast-food – there’s more to this American than just waxing lyrical about Irish roots!

Surprisingly, Brannan’s biggest song to date – the ever-moving Can’t Have It All – makes an early appearance in the set, “just to make sure I have your attention”. As if that’d be an issue – the crowd are hanging off his every note. For one thing Jay Brannan has in abundance is charm. His banter with the audience between songs is consistently engaging, and he’s pretty dam funny too. His heart-on-sleeve approach to every aspect of his performance is beyond endearing; and of course the songs speak for themselves. Brannan is very literal in his approach to writing, not one to mince his words when it comes to matters of the heart. Songs from 2008 debut album Goddammed such as ‘Half Boyfriend’ and ‘Housewife’ have retained their heartfelt sentiments over time; it is their simplicity that makes them work so well.  The highlight of the evening comes in the form of a cover of The Cranberries ‘Zombie’, as featured on Brannan’s latest release In Living Cover. He really puts his own twist on the song – a completely stripped-back rendition, which still retains the angst and passion of the original.

As the gig wraps up all too soon due to a strict curfew, Brannan promises that he’ll be hanging around in the bar afterwards, and true to his word he patiently tends to the lengthy queue of people eager to purchase his CDs – chatting to each individually, signing autographs and posing for photos. There probably aren’t many artists out there who would do the same.

Jay Brannan relies on those familiar with him to pass on the word – which might result in him picking up a new fan or two! Maybe you’ve heard of him, maybe you haven’t – either way, you can check out his official website at and follow him on Twitter at

  1. […] Jay Brannan’s recent gig in Crawdaddy, I was completely blown away when the support act – The Late Fragments – unleashed an […]

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