Slaven Vlasic, Getty Images Trace Adkins didn't show much emotion upon being…
- Posted on Feb 14th 2010 9:30AM by Kenneth Partridge
That would be the "positive mental attitude" signified by the PMA decals on his black Les Paul. Like the guys he aspires to be -- onetime duet partner Bruce Springsteen and dearly departed friend and inspiration Joe Strummer, most notably -- Malin plays with a conviction that borders on corniness. So far, he hasn't crossed that line.
The native New Yorker opened Saturday's set, fittingly, with 'Burning on the Bowery,' a tune from his forthcoming album 'Love It To Life,' due in April. It was a classic Malin rager: four chords, lean bass, pop-punk pace and big inspirational hook.
"I'm back here where you found me," Malin sang, sweat already oozing from the mound of black hair permanently matted to his forehead. "Burning on the Bowery."
Malin devoted roughly half of his show -- the first in a month-long Bowery Electric residency -- to new material, unveiling such tunes as 'Black Boom Box,' 'All the Way from Moscow' and 'Lowlife in a High-Rise.' That last one, he said, was inspired by Bernie Madoff -- Malin's neighbor, in a sense, during the time he spent last year living on the Upper East Side.
Never mind what Malin, more an East Village sort of dude, was doing on the Upper East Side. He's returned from the land above 14th Street with his wits and talents in tact. As he told fans, the new album arrives after a period of listlessness and uncertainty. He joked that he'd considered giving up music to become a mohel, but that he wasn't keen on "working for tips."
The show was noticeably lacking in such banter, as the usually chatty Malin focused instead on the music. The one exception came during the encore, when he prefaced 'The Archer,' one of two songs he wrote for an upcoming film about J.D. Salinger, with a story involving Hollywood screenwriters, Blues Traveler and the Cornish, New Hampshire, police force.
He closed with an oldie, 'In a Modern World,' yet another of his calls for strength in the face of adversity. When he got to the part that goes, "F--- forever!" it felt less like nihilism than a celebration of the here and now, Malin's favorite place and time.
Jesse Malin on AOL Music