Fiona Doran 11/10/2007
“He must own nothing but checked shirts!” ponders one fan outside Oxford's Carling Academy, equally decked out in checks herself, before grabbing her friend's hand and disappearing into the squeaky clean new venue. Two things spring to mind when thinking of Mr. Jack Fabian Peñate (of Spanish descent if you were wondering) and those are his love and devotion to those shirts and secondly his reputation for unfathomable stage energy. NME has dubbed his dancing as “unbelievably crazy-ass” and his footwork receives as much attention as the songs he sings.
Opening with crowd winner and breakthrough first single “Spit At Stars”, he bursts into his infamous dance using every part of the stage and the audience love him for it. He is apparently inexhaustible and his set is punctuated with random shakes of the head accompanied by “AH FUCK!” The ability to hold a tune, a guitar, dance emphatically and connect with the audience is impressive and sets him apart from some of the more image conscious bands of the minute.
Memorable moments include “Run For Your Life”, “Torn On The Platform” and the slow burner “My Yvonne”, during which the well thought-out lighting display works to its best effect - the stage backdrop of a tree with eccentric doodling is apparently Jack's personal artwork.
Perhaps the most daring yet successful moment of the night was a cover of Beats International's “Dub Be Good To Me”, delivered with mucho gusto. His surprisingly angelic soprano-esque voice filled the room with a slightly eerie atmosphere, however not for long as he then launched into a blistering rocked up version, alongside some clever strobe lighting whilst he body popped on stage before creeping up to the microphone in a cat like pose, a move extremely well received by the audience.
Finishing with current single “Second, Minute Or Hour” in the encore, both Peñate and crowd beam jubilantly with the faces of those with a good night had. Some of his songs may blend into each other a little too much, relying heavily on Rockabilly and Ska influence, but if he can conjure up more genius akin to his “Dub Be Good To Me” cover then he will continue to be one of the hot topics in music circles.