Music’s hidden jewel delivers at ‘dise lounge

A review of Gary Jules at the Pardise Lounge on April 15

, Staff

Most people hear the name Gary Jules and ask, “Oh yeah, the guy who sang the cover of ‘Mad World’ at the end of Donnie Darko?” Yes, that’s him, but if that’s the only reason you know him, you’re missing out. Jules performed an intimate set at the Paradise Lounge on Sunday night with an eclectic crowd comprised of hipsters, couples who could easily double as your parents, and low-key frat boys – all quietly singing along to Jules’ relaxed set of acoustic gems.

Jules told jokes throughout the entire set, acting less like a musician and more like a friendly bartender in between guitar-heavy songs that showcased his talent and vocal range. Reminiscent of a younger Michael Stipe, Jules wore an understated zip-up sweatshirt, jeans and a black baseball cap, while he alternated between three guitars throughout his 20-song set. When the neighboring band playing at the rock club became so loud they overshadowed Jules’ performance, he smiled and quipped, “This is my backing band.”

Despite not having any hits on the radio, it seemed Jules has written the proverbial soundtrack to your life. No matter who you are, Gary knows your story. “Patchwork Jeans” brought forth stories of flirting with soon-to-be girlfriends. “Heroes and Heroin” touched on love-hate relationships that some of us just can’t say no to. And “Whiskey for Everybody” evoked those nights we can barely remember with friends we’ll never forget.

If a Jules song can’t relate to your own life, it’s a safe bet that you’ve heard most of them in scenes from you your favorite television shows. If you’ve watched TV in the past two years, you’ve undoubtedly heard some of Jules’ songs and you’ve probably been moved by both his lyrics and the scenes that his music accompany. His music has appeared in Scrubs, CSI, ER, Jericho, and of course Grey’s Anatomy.& “Falling Awake,” the anthem for any rough break up, appeared in the second season of the latter and was one of the strongest moments of his Paradise set. Jules followed with another TV favorite, “The Devil Keeps Grinning.” The song’s chorus of, “everybody is a star, and every star is a sun (look it up)” had the audience hanging onto his every breath. In a very Tom Petty-esque fashion, Jules let his raspy voice take over “Pills,” a song on the Catch and Release soundtrack.

The highlight of the show was Jules much-awaited performance of “Mad World,” which was both haunting in its rendition of the Tears for Fears classic and beautiful in its overall performance.

With no openers, Jules was free to play more songs than he initially planned. He played every single audience request, even though he admitted he hadn’t played some of the songs in more than three years while he struggled to find the right chords. He thanked the crowd for coming to the “gig that almost wasn’t,” explaining that because of the storm hitting the east coast, he almost didn’t drive up to Boston. Thankfully for his fans, he made it up safely and performed longer and better than anyone could have asked for. If you missed the show, don’t worry, Jules will be back soon with a full backing-band and promised “it will be a big to-do.” If it’s anything like his performance on Sunday, you won’t want to miss it. As fun as watching Donnie Darko and whispering the words to “Mad World” by yourself is, it’s ten times better live- trust me.

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