It’s been three weeks since Jack Carty first entered my radar when he stole the show in a support slot for Georgia Fair. Since then, I’ve bought both his albums and he quickly became the soundtrack to my fortnight backpacking around New Zealand. Tonight I was back in Sydney and he was finishing a three week residency at Café Lounge in Surry Hills. It was a free gig, supported by Packwood, and I knew I had to be there.
From the first notes of She Loves Me, his face crumpling with every held note, I quickly remembered why this frisbee-loving twenty five year old Aries (all things he told us during the set) had found his way onto my most played list. “Unwashed hair and a nose ring smiling back at me,” he sang as he began Everything, Unhappily, “a portrait of the Melbourne indie hipster scene”. And from that moment, he left me curiouser and curiouser about what else Jack Carty had to offer.
The majority of the set was filled with songs from his latest album but covers of Ryan Adams’ Tomorrow and Don McLean’s Starry Starry Night along with a few from his debut also crept in. A recently penned track about his time finding himself in New Zealand was a great addition to the set, with raw emotive lyrics effortlessly supported by acoustic guitar and harmonica throughout the night.
Between songs Carty was quick to tell stories to keep the small, but engaged, crowd listening. Talking about guys who shout “Show us your tits” at girls walking along streets with their boyfriends, he questioned if that had ever resulted in the desired outcome. He was doubtful, but thought maybe it would happen in Essex. At this point my friend looked at me and I had to accept that I was born in the famed county – though would still respond negatively to the imperative. Carty was quick to apologise “if there is anybody from Essex here”, noting that he’d never actually been there.
The only other hiccup in the set happened when a string broke on Carty’s guitar, which he was quick to fix before launching into Length of Canada dedicating it to a fan who’d been contacting radio stations asking them to support Carty’s music.
Something tells me it won’t be long before fans no longer need to request his music gets airtime. Jack Carty deserves to be on the cusp of greatness.