Jeffrey Lewis & the Junkyard @ Cabaret Voltaire 31-08-09

September 8, 2009

JEFFREY LEWIS AND THE JUNKYARD
Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, August 31 * * *

The last day of the Edge Festival brought a sold out crowd to the Cabaret Voltaire for Jeffrey Lewis and his intermittent backing band the Junkyard. Part of New York’s so-called ‘anti-folk” scene, the diminutive singer/songwriter showcased his quirky blend of lo-fi indie-folk during the course of an entertaining hour in the basement venue.
There was an endearingly shambolic air to his performance tonight. No doubt heightened by Lewis’ decision to forgo a soundcheck, it served to embellish rather than impede songs already skewed by a somewhat ragged edge.
As well as being a musician, Lewis is also an established cartoonist. On The Story Of The Mayflower and A Low Budget Detective Flick he married the two mediums, singing his quirky comedic lyrics while flipping through pages of illustrations. Both certainly provoked chuckles from the crowd but second time around it did feel slightly earnest. As did the gentler more folk-inflected tracks that interspersed tonight’s set.
However where Lewis did excel was on the more upbeat full band numbers. Garage rocker Slogans, Posters and Good Old Pig Gone To Avalon bustled with chaotic energy and urgency but overall it was the whimsical Mosquito Mass Murderer that truly stood out. Fusing rap and beatnik-isms it proved a delightfully quirky three minutes.

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