After a run of shows and festival appearances with Brian Fallon and The Crowes it was time for Jared Hart to head out on tour all by himself. The Scandals front man released his solo album Past Lives & Pass Lines in November last year and had since been opening for Brian at a few shows this year. To kick off his very own UK tour he got himself a partner in the shape of Scotsman Billy Liar and headed to Shoreditch’s Old Blue Last.
Having seen Jared open for Brian Fallon this April, I knew this was going to be special but the venues could not be more different – a massive, sold-out KOKO with a crowd just waiting to see their Gaslight Anthem hero (so, pressure was off a little bit) versus the intimate setting of the upstairs of a ca.-120-cap pub venue where he had the audience all to himself.
The set is packed with songs off his solo album, a recently released Scandals-cover, and a few new songs. Jared’s voice tears right at your heart-strings, going from singing his heart out in a raspy, room-filling volume to a soft-toned, almost sweet melodic tune. In short, it never gets boring. Just when you think you’ve figured out the layout of the song, you’re proven wrong with a punch right in the feels.
Another thing Jared does well is the chatting with the audience, it can be quite daunting and for sure he was nervous, but none of that was felt during the banter on stage about Bank Holidays and the fact that they don’t mean banks giving out free money but they DO mean free parking (awesome!), about how much he loves London (we love you too, Jared) and how his last show here (at KOKO) inspired him to do more writing. And so we were treated to two new songs. Both about London, or people from London. And they fit right in, right in the heart of the set list, they could have just as easily been on the album – or a B side.
An absolute treat of the night was the slow acoustic cover of Rancid’s Olympia, WA and a beautifully mixed mash-up of The Runaround and Gaslight Anthem’s Have Mercy – considering a lot of people in the room are probably also Gaslight Anthem fans, so not only was that a smart move but a sweet one, too. It’s that “Oh wait, isn’t that….?” moment.
And just like that an otherwise boring Bank Holiday Monday night turned into a special, intimate evening with two great guys on guitar.
Jared’s on tour all of this week around the Midlands and South, you should go check him out!