Jack Penate, Leeds Cockpit

He displays a knack for vamping the audience into a shimmy and a singalong.


In 2007, Jack Penate appeared on the cover of NME, with fellow ‘Landon’ solo singer Kate Nash under a headline heralding the “New Indie-Pop Takeover,” followed a few weeks later by the same magazine lambasting their male cover star for releasing a record of “diluted” Wham!-influenced numbers.

While 2009’s Jack may not be a departure from his original pop ambitions; the tracks from his sophomore effort, ‘Everything Is New’ showcased tonight at Leeds Cockpit display a bit less Mockney and George Michael, and a much more comfortable and musically developed side to the former ‘Matinee’ singer. Mixing elements of soul, tropicalia and atmospheric indie with a timely injection of Housemartins pop, the new songs are a progression, but still carry a party vibe that happily plays alongside the jangly skiffle of ‘Second Minute Or Hour’ and ‘Torn On The Platform’. His fun selection of songs combine with his own entertainment value charm the audience so much so that he pretty much stays put at ‘encore’ time to lap up the chant of “We Want Jack!”

Guaranteeing that smiles stay on faces, the highlight of the night comes at the outro with Penate donning a fluffy white bath towel like an Indian headdress for his most recent singles, the Vampire Weekend Afro-tinged ‘Tonight’s Today’ and the slick groove ‘Be The One’, on which he spectacularly displays a knack for vamping the audience into a shimmy and a singalong.

Whilst the female pop singers du jour like Boots, Florence and La Roux seem to be at the helm of the new indie pop-takeover, 2009 is in desperate need of a male to inject some quirk into mainstream male singer-songwriter pop music. After tonight’s performance, it seems certain that Jack Penate might just be the one.

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