Currently supporting The Driver Era on their Girlfriend tour, Jessarae (Jesse Robitaille) has been giving back to his supporters in the form of providing select fans with an intimate house gig. His return comes four years after his last show in the country and on the final day of the UK leg, the singer-songwriter made his final pitstop at my house.
Admitting he “just wants to give back to his fans after being away for so long”, Jessarae came and performed some fan favourites in the student area of Fallowfield. As all of my housemates crammed into the living room providing a warm welcome, Jessarae’s entrance was one met with shock as the once London-based artist emphasises how this is the biggest house gig he’s performed to.
There is a certain intimacy that comes with small venues and Manchester is famous for this. Venues like Night & Day, Gullivers and even Deaf Institute, where I saw Jessarae perform in 2016 and 2018, host intimate gigs that are remembered for a lifetime yet that level of intimacy will never compare to an artist playing your living room. Shortly after performing the heartfelt, rock banger ‘Stand In The Rain’, which was the highlight of the cherished set, the room fills with nostalgia. Released in 2016, the upbeat song is reminiscent of the times we saw Jessarae open for 5 Seconds of Summer the same year and nothing but happy memories come flooding in. As he strums the final chords, we realise the song signifies the dreary day in the city as, like usual, it’s battering it down with rain.
Having walked in, guitar in hand, Jessarae came prepared. Playing a three-song set in the middle of multiple conversations, the powerhouse rock vocalist with guitar chops to match detailed a few highlights of being on tour. From visiting the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin to attempting to pick his favourite show so far, to which he eagerly responds “hopefully tonight,” Jessarae chats with us as if he lives here, that feeling that you’ve known someone for ages strongly present. Having been raised in LA but spent his former years in the UK, he references the latter whilst touching on how gratifying his years here were. “When it gets sunny here people really appreciate it,” he laughs. “You guys make the most of it and will spend the entire day basking in it. I miss your country’s appreciation for such small things in the best way.”
Bringing the cosy atmosphere to a close, Jessarae gives us an exclusive. “Scratch your name into my guitar,” he sings as he begins the unreleased track, a song which is now sentimental to our household and something we can’t wait for the rest of his fans to hear. It’s his authentic acts of kindness and acoustic bangers like that which make it easy to see why Jessarae resonates so intimately with his fanbase. As the half-hour gig wraps up, the living room erupts into rounds of applause but his sporadic acts of kindness haven’t ended yet; the emotionally charged artist invites us all to The Driver Era’s gig: “I’m not sure if you guys have plans tonight but I’d love to have you all at the show if you can come. Let’s make that happen.”
Jessarae’s EP ‘Welcome To The Future’, under the Catching Comets pseudonym, is out now.