Jason Webley, a long time friend of Amanda Palmer, and a lover of Russian culture, returned to Moscow to participate in several art projects. While here, he decided to also do a performance and promote the material from his new upcoming album.
That Thursday the crisp evening air was starting to signal one of the last days of summer and the oncoming fall. As the small theatre cafe “Masterskaya” stated to fill up with people, the anticipation and excitement became ever more intoxicating. Jason had not officially performed in Russia since 2011 which is what made that night’s performance that much more special. Longtime fans and novices alike helped pack the small club to the brim, even forcing management to remove some of the furniture to accommodate the crowd.
Accompanying Jason on the tiny stage was his local band consisting of a tuba player, a violinist and a drummer. Alternating between playing the guitar and the accordion. Jason began by playing new material from his upcoming album “Margaret,” which had been recently fully funded on Kickstarter. The album was inspired by Margaret Rucker – the daughter of one of the founders of Jason’s hometown of Everett, Washington. Jason was inspired by Margaret’s life,which was both beautiful and tragic, as well as her original poetry, creating truly charming and original music.
Jason started by playing several new songs, one which was named “Promise to the Moon,” during which Jason encouraged the audience to howl during the chorus. Another of his new songs was called “Giraffe” and told the story of how Jason had always wanted to own a pet giraffe. This song in particular was rather reminiscent of his work on the EvelynEvelyn project. The musical accompaniment of Jason’s Russian band made the songs that much more powerful and moving. The majority of the set was deliberately newer songs, but towards the end as an encoure Jason did the crowd a service and performed some old favoruites. Two of my favourites to which I sang loudly and with fervour were “Map,” and “Lost Song,” one of Jason’s oldest songs. At the end of the concert I was even able to snag the setlist and exchange a few words with Jason. Meeting him for the first time as an avid fan did make me a bit nervous but Jason’s warm smile and calm demeanor soon put me at ease.
Overall it was a joyous and remarkable evening and further showed how much Moscow loves Jason and his work. I certainly hope he comes back and plays many more gigs for years to come.
If you want to check out what the newest Jason Webley creation will look like, check the Kickstarter link here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/562632750/margaret-by-jason-webley-and-friends