Just Jack – Nottingham Rock City, Tuesday November 10.
With three hit singles and two charting albums under his belt, you might have expected Just Jack to have filled Rock City to capacity. So it came as a surprise to find him relegated to the venue’s basement bar, playing to an audience that would have fitted comfortably into the Rescue Rooms next door. “They must have turned a thousand people away at the door”, he joked, adapting to his reduced circumstances with relaxed good humour.
On Monday night, Jack Allsop and his five-piece band had played to 1200 people at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire – and yet by the end the set, he happily conceded that this had been the better show. The intimacy of the venue gave him free rein to trade quips and banter with the more vocal members of the audience, making everybody feel included.
Wearing his thirty-four years lightly, with the sprightly demeanour of a fresh-faced teen, Jack breezed his way through his 75 minutes on stage. Observational, witty and tender, his songs presented neatly drawn vignettes of everyday life. What they lacked in profundity, they made up for in simple, unforced charm.
As the set gathered steam, the crowd loosened up, bellowing the likeably daft lyrics of The Day I Died back at the stage. (“I always hated Rob! And now they’ll probably offer me Rob’s old job!”) A bold choice for a single, the canon-like Embers broke from the formula, while Starz In Their Eyes – dedicated on this occasion to Susan Boyle – offered a timely pricking of the delusions of TV talent show hopefuls.