The air was frigid in Philadelphia on Tuesday night and it didn’t feel much warmer inside the main sanctuary of The Church at 21st and Chestnut as fans of Justin Jones and Badly Drawn Boy began packing into the pews when the doors opened at 8:00PM.
The Church is an amazing venue for a concert and Independent Philly was happy to be there to cover it. The acoustics are unbelievable in the lengthy room with high vaulted ceilings. Justin Jones, from Washington DC, took the stage around 8:30 PM and instantly remarked about how cold it was. He wasted little time warming up the crowd with his stunning voice, harmonica, crisp guitar playing, and his humorous interludes between songs. He mentioned that this was the first time he had actually met the person he was touring with, but made it clear that meant they had spoken to each other several times, not that they were sharing a hotel room or anything.
One of our personal favorites is his song “Little Fox” which he wrote for his children. You can download it for free by clicking HERE.
We spoke briefly with Justin before and after his set and he was having a great experience on the tour. He was very engaging on stage (talking to the audience about everything from marriage to prostitutes to playing in a church) and also after the show as he spoke with fans and signed copies of his CD at the merchandise table.
Badly Drawn Boy, the stage name of British singer/songwriter Damon Gough, took the stage just after 9:30 PM. He had several cups and water bottles sitting on a speaker near the mic stand and drank from all of them (some of them twice) as he settled onto the stage (causing many members of the audience to laugh and cheer).
“Thank you,” he responded.
He began by thanking Justin Jones for opening which brought about a second round of cheers. He commented that often times fans don’t appreciate the opening act so the fact that they were cheering for Justin not only meant a lot to Justin, but to him as well.
As is his style, Badly Drawn Boy switched seamlessly between songs and story telling. He played numerous songs from his album “Is There Nothing We Could Do” which was inspired by the British film “The Fattest Man in Brittan” before asking fans for song requests.
He remarked that The Church, with its acoustics, was the most difficult venue he’d ever played because he felt like he could blow the roof off the building by simply strumming his guitar too loudly.
“Had this been one of my first shows, I wouldn’t have been able to do it,” he said, adding that as a more seasoned performer he welcomed the challenge.
If you’ve never heard the music of Justin Jones or Badly Drawn Boy make a point to do so. Although they both have wonderful stage presence that shouldn’t be missed if you have a chance to see them live, there is something familiar and inspiring in the music that they both make that translate easily to recordings.
By the time the show ended, it was still cold outside, but we had definitely been warmed on the inside.