The last time Jesse Marchant played New Orleans, he opened for Bishop Allen solo, at the BEATnik. As if searching for a comfortable blanket, Marchant gravitated back to the last place he had played. For now, 1638 Clio is the temporary name of the venue, which was formerly known as The Big Top and The BEATnik. The place is being purchased by Jeremy Woolsey, a motion picture art director. Though Jeremy spends most of the year working in Atlanta, I get the sense that he’d rather be home in New Orleans concentrating on his new club. Last Monday night’s soft opening of the new space, still yet to be officially named, took those homesick notions to heart. The progress of the venue has been slow until now, but with Jeremy back in town again and focusing his energy on the site, the pace has been stepped up quite a bit. Papers have been filed and he hopes to have the club open to the public for concerts, art openings, and special events by Mardi Gras.
As for the concert last week, Jesse Marchant with a band is quite different than his solo persona. Where his haunting rifts and reverb were self-evident in his solo performance, they tended to blend into the background with the full band. The Lynch-esque performance space lent beautifully to his solo gig and still carried the same weight with the whole band. Flashbacks of the solo show were expressed in the set when Marchant opted to go solo in a few tracks. There’s something to be said for comfort as Jesse proclaimed his love for the city on several occasions. While the club may not be up and running yet, this soft preview with an amazing band really does show promise for the future.