JD McPherson, Islington Assembly Hall, gig review: The sound of pure vintage

McPherson has an enthusiasm for his music that is utterly infectious

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The Independent Culture

JD McPherson is so dedicated to the sound of the Fifties that walking into one of his live shows is like stepping into a time warp.

His sound is pure vintage: simple guitar riffs, bright, breezy keys and an astonishing turn on the bass from collaborator and producer Jimmy Sutton. McPherson has an enthusiasm for his music that is utterly infectious: he’s barely 20 seconds into the first song before feet start tapping.

In the crowd are beautiful sailor girls with immaculate hair and colourful tattoos who mingle with young guys in denim with slicked back hair; and grizzled old dogs beaming at the sheer nostalgia in the atmosphere.

While younger acts have dipped their toes into old-school rock and roll whilst still retaining a grip on the present; McPherson throws himself wholly into that era, and he has the voice to do it with. Flirting with material from 2011's Signs and Signifiers - “Country Boy” with its pre-army Presley hint of swagger - teasers from his upcoming sophomore effort have more of an edge.

He’s headed down a path that’s been trodden many times before, yet right now McPherson is an endearing, talented novelty that sounds like nothing else we’re exposed to today.

You can listen to JD McPherson on our Spotify playlist