John J Presley at Green Note
Being told to “wait until the next song finishes” is not the best start to the evening. But this isn’t your normal gig venue, it’s Green Note – a vegan coffee bar. Eerily quiet, and a seated event (if you can find one), the first support band The Black Feathers are about as cliché folk as you could imagine, nothing new or diverse here.
The second act, Feldspar, are again folk with a rather punchy full sound, a taste of Mumford & Sons mixed with Travis, but there’s a lack of consistency; each song seems dramatically different from the last, but saying that, they do display engaging tones that range from enjoyable to just a bit wet.
Onto the main event of John J Presley and his band. As soon as they hit that first note from Former Grandeurs, a warm tingle surges down the spine – an effortless bold quality that continues throughout the half-hour set. He has a raw, chafed, drawn-out honesty imbedded in blues, with a voice that tremors in despair.
This set certainly has impact; what would normally be a no-holds-barred grungy style is swapped for a more deep south blues, stripped back approach. It’s great to hear how dynamic Presley and his band can be, adapting to the environment, adding a layer of integrity. Here you can note strong influences from Tom Waits, Kyuss and Jack White in an entirely fresh, satisfying way.
Presley grooves through the set, playing Rise to My Confession, Sweet Sister, Devils Daughter, All That’s Inbetween, On a Sunday, Left, and finishing with Ill at Ease.
What this performance allows is to bring Danielle Perry’s input with her harmonium and back-up vocals into the spotlight; her aspect is integral, to really fill the void between the shimmering bluesy riffs from Presley. The consistent soulful temperament of Tom Glendining’s drumming creates a strong basis for this three-piece.
Photos: Adam Bennett
For further information and future events visit john J Presley’s website here.
Watch the video for Sweet Sister here: