Jay Brannan's Farewell Tour Hits Sticky Mike's Frog Bar!

Author: Jason Shaw
Published: October 24, 2012 at 5:55 am

Many years ago when I started broadcasting my first boss give me a classic piece of advice, ‘if you don’t want to be disappointed, you should never meet your idols or those you most admire‘.  Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to meet many celebrities from the worlds of music, film, entertainment and the business we call ‘show’, and I’ve been surprised at how frequently that little piece of advice from my old boss rang true.  However, tonight there was a welcome exception to that rule emerged in the shape of New York based signer/songwriter extraordinaire Jay Brannan.
I met Jay an hour or so before he took to the stage on the Brighton leg of his mammoth farewell tour and was so pleasantly surprised by his genuine warm welcome backstage. His openness was like a breath of fresh air, much like his unique voice that has won the hearts and minds of thousands of fans around the world over the last few years, since he found fame in the incredible film Shortbus.  He described how he loved to travel but was very much looking forward to a nice rest after this final European leg of his tour comes to a close in Hanover, Germany on the 31st October. It’s not surprising this tall, handsome singer needs a rest, already this year alone he’s played 59 dates in cities all over the world including Europe, USA, Australia and Israel.  As we traded traveler tales and visa woes and future dreams, I sensed there was far more to this humble man than meets the eye,  although it’s hard to pin point just exactly what it is.  Perhaps it is his intelligence, or his thirst for knowledge or maybe his engaging yet slightly shy personality. We chatted for a wee while before I left him to prepare himself as the support act, Paul Diello took to the stage in the cavern like club with the intriguingly unusual name of Sticky Mikes Frog Bar.  

There was a good size crowd in this basement club by the time Jay took to the stage and opened his set with his latest single ‘Rob Me Blind’ taken from the album of the same name.  From the outset the dedicated audience was hooked as Jay’s effervescent vocal ability delicately delivered heartfelt and emotive lyrics with seemingly effortless ease.  Over the next hour and half the thirty-year-old singer treated the crowed to a number of old favourites like ’Half Boyfriend’ and ‘Soda Shop’ and much requested ’Housewife’ along with more recent releases such as ’Beautifully’ and these were interspersed with a few cover versions all of which punctuated by friendly chatter and intelligent observations. 

A clear highlight of the evening was his amazingly haunting a cappella rendition of Alanis Morissette’s ‘Your House’ which gave me goose bumps and was a true aural delight, much appreciated by the engaged crowd.  As he completed the rest of his set I noticed how Jay’s uniquely charming tenor voice has an enigmatic quality that is delightful to listen to as it simultaneously enriches your soul and tugs at your heartstrings.  

All in all I was more than impressed with Jay Brannan’s performance in foggy  Brighton on a Tuesday night. His vocal quality was almost exactly the same live as it is on his albums, which is no mean feat and whilst he is a relatively static artist he packs plenty of energy into the vocals.    

Upon reflection it really was a remarkable performance and yet there is something oddly vulnerable about Jay, which only serves to make him ever more endearing to his fans, of which there are quite a number,  52,000+ likes on Facebook, nearly 25,000 followers on twitter, 40,000 on MySpace and over 9.5 million plays on YouTube and those numbers are going up all the time.  

Rob Me Blind and his other albums are available on iTunes and Amazon, full details can be found his website along with more details about this globe-trotting Texan born New York residing singer/songwriter of pure gold quality.   I only hope his self imposed hiatus isn’t going to be a long one,  or I might have to learn to be a stalker in New York city!
You may be interested in my first interview with Jay,  details here.


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Article Author: Jason Shaw

Jason is a freelance writer, author and blogger from Sussex, England. He has been a human and gay rights commentator and activist for a number of years and is passionate about equality. He writes for various websites and journals both in the UK and Worldwide. …

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