Photo's & Words: Brianna Saraceno Bands: Nat Jenkins & The Musical Differences Nat Jenkins Having only seen Nat Jenkins perform a few songs ahead of his friends, the Kooks, at the Hollywood Palladium back in October of 2008, I was very excited to see a more full set from this singer-songwriter. I only say singer-songwriter for lack of wanting to call him something like ‘an acoustic troubadour’ for both have really fucking lame connotations, but that is what he is. His set saw him take the stage with just his acoustic guitar and his voice. What the audience ultimately received was a set of experimentation and testing out new songs, but it was not without it’s endearing moments. His second song, “If I Were A Wolf’ was the sets highlight, it was a charming tale of lust and love. As I said before, it was a set filled with trial songs, including one he had ‘literally written that morning’. But his voice was the most appealing part of his set, not to say that he isn’t an interesting guitar player, but he could use some more development in that respect, but his voice can range from deep and brooding to upbeat and even melodic. He certainly has some promise as a performer. The final song Nat played was a blatant mix of Bob Dylan’s ‘If You See Her, Say Hello’ and John Donne’s ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’, but that’s not to say it wasn’t an intriguing, clever song – but perhaps needs a bit more of Nat injected into it. It appeared a fair bit of his set had been influenced by the seminal album ‘Blood on the Tracks’ but let’s be honest, he could do a lot worse than stealing from Bob Dylan. After all, Bob is the master of thieving. Nat Jenkins has potential, undoubtedly, and I anticipate some recorded material from him, and would absolutely see his live set again after some brushing up. The Musical Differences The Musical Differences were a delight to watch. After having seeing two singer/songwriters in a row, one who would do well to stop playing music and the other, Nat Jenkins, seeing a full band take the stage was a welcome change. Although they’re more than a motley crew, singer Rob Skipper was wearing a teal cowboy button up with black pants that somehow magically had balloon ribbon down the sides; the bassist was wearing bright red pants and seemed to have a disease where his feet couldn’t or wouldn’t stand still; the guitarist was so quiet and statuesque; the keyboardist was extremely well dressed; and the lone girl was adorable in a braid and high-waisted skirt; something about their ridiculousness was undoubtedly endearing. The ukulele, the violin, and the keyboard all combined for a buoyant, eclectic sound that never managed to get swallowed by the sheer amount of instruments onstage – each was allowed to shine separately. The interplay between the girl and Rob Skipper, vocally, was a central driving force in the set – and the knowing looks, winks and side-glances were enough to create some tension to keep the audience interested. The Musical Differences somehow had a knack for making extremely depressing subjects sound full of life and energy and happiness – they ranged from soldiers (to commemorate Soldier’s Sunday) to a Russian woman locked up in some Holloway prison (props to them for using ‘barbed wire’ so effortlessly in a song). Their set was really fluent and seemed extremely short but I guess it’s fitting as they were playing the lauded London night, Communion’s younger sister in Brighton. They were certainly the shining stars of the night, their jaunty energy was refreshing and certainly gained them some fans – myself included. The Musical Differences did some recording in Los Angeles earlier in the year, and I look forward to seeing how their vivacious live songs translate to record.