It’s always been a pleasure enjoying a show at The John St. Pub in Arnprior, I have seen several great shows there and played there myself as well. An upstairs bar setting with framed albums on the walls, a good size dance floor open area for the crowd, totally an 1980’s throwback feel, kudos to them, but tonight July Twenty First was special, it was the reappearance of Jeff Martin of Tea Party and Solo Fame. I unfortunately missed his first show here, but I was assured of an awesome show by friends. The show had several support acts, all unique, which added to the great flow of the evening, Crossing Jane, Vicki Brittle, Etoile Noire, Robb Kerr. I knew we were in for a treat of an evening of Local Artists.
Jeff was last to play and came in through the back strolling to the stage to a rousing round of applause, just one man and his music alone hit that stage creating a sea of aural stimulation through melodies and lyrics, whispers to screams & intimacy evolving into intensity. Opening with “Coming Home” he just drew us all in closer and closer and he navigated us through his vision and sprinkled it with little bits of “The Doors” vibe as well. Jeff has an amazing honed ability to ride the flow of a song and give you intense jabs midst soft passages which intensifies his passionate delivery. We were treated to “The Bazaar” next, it is so refreshing to hear a different take on a song you’re used to hearing full band production, the scaled back acoustic version has a whole new depth and feeling to it. Jeff next dedicated “ Requiem“ to Chester Bennington of “Linkin Park” and delivered an emotional heart wrenching performance to an almost silent entranced crowd, then flawlessly melded into “Hurt” by “Nine Inch Nails”, very fitting I must say. This man’s voice can fill a room without any accompaniment with such full sound and passionate delivery, we all just got lost in his soundscape.
Jeff shared a story about his song “Stars in the Sand” with us next and proceeded to play this beautiful personal song about his wife, introducing it and saying he scored some “brownie points” with this one. Once again he segued into another Tea Party song “The Messenger” without missing a beat, as the audience joined in on the vocals, another very intimate moment in this unique show. A few “Led Zeppelin” covers were up next, Jeff gave us renditions of “Thank You”, “Over the Hills & Far Away”, “Stairway to Heaven” while morphing into his own song “A Line in the Sand”. It takes a truly great artist to be able to move from one song to the next mid song and keep the original flow, well Jeff did this amazingly as he went into “All Along the Watchtower” with sheer exuberance in his performance, then finishing off this little opus with the end of “Stairway to Heaven” as the audience howled along.
“Save Me” a Tea Party classic was next from “Splendor Solis”, this one was a crowd favorite with a very loud singalong, and once again mixing in other songs like “David Bowie’s” “Heroes”. “In this Time” a beautiful “Tea Party” song flowed next and just overtook the room with its melodies and depth, then seamlessly melded into “The Kingdom” as the audience sang along once again. Jeff has a very good flow to his solo performances, intimate but comfortable, he speaks to the audience like he’s one on one with each person as well as enlightening the whole room with one sentence. “Zahira > Favorite Son > Sister Awake” finished off his main set as Jeff Thanked us all and left the stage.
Jeff reemerged shortly and gave us an amazing encore jam including “In my time of Dying”, “ Bring it on Home”, “Back Door Man”, “Black Snake Blues”, Whole Lotta Love” and winding it all up with a rendition of “Black Snake Blues” and that was it, and it was a truly enjoyable musical experience, Thank You Jeff, Hope to see you again soon.
For a full listing of shows coming up at the John St. Pub visit: www.facebook.com/pg/TheJohnStreetPub/events