Jack Penate to play Spring & Airbrake

Jack Penate
When he was a kid growing up in Blackheath, Jack Peñate rebelled. Not by going out all night, being a nuisance, binge drinking and alike. But by deciding clearly that south London’s newly, negative interpretation of street culture simply wasn’t for him – so by doing something more positive instead. “A lot of our friends were so afraid of looking not cool they’d be going out being dicks, wearing hoodies, trying to mug people. It was so embarrassing. I decided to stay out of that whole fake world. So we all decided to watch films and listen to music and put on festivals in our back gardens. There was a lot of garden action.”

Back garden events like their No Drummers Allowed festival or the film they made as 17-year-olds involving a flight simulation game, a pretend airplane crash, and flesh-eating zombies clearly had an impact on both Peñate and his best friend, Felix White. They started a band together – Jack’s Basement – which eventually split into two; one became The Maccabees, the other Peñate’s band, where he’s backed by friends Joel Porter (bass) and Alex Robins (drums).

In autumn 2006, Peñate signed to XL Recordings, via hip club and label Young Turks. “When you sign to a label you get to take copies of all the records they’ve put out,” he says. “But with XL I already had them all. It was well annoying. There’s a strain of quality and a love of music there.” And yes, Peñate is his real name. “I’m an eighth Spanish. My friends always take the piss – ‘you’re more Welsh than Spanish!’ – but it’s the Spanish eighth that beats my heart.”

Right now, the 22-year-old is riding high. Of course, there’s the joyful, soulful, indie-rockabilly of chart-topping single ‘Torn on the Platform’ and 2006’s limited edition ‘Second, Minute or Hour,’ which first alerted the world to his energetic pop concoctions. Then there’s his debut album, Matinee. That’s not to mention two sold out UK tours, a brilliant Glastonbury set which included a blistering cover of Beats International’s ‘Dub Be Good To Me’, videos which look set to enter straight into the classic file (think A-Ha’s ‘Take On Me’ turned into a Victorian pop-up theatre) and colourful, doodle-magic artwork, all penned by Peñate himself.

The creative gene is strong in family Peñate. His granddad, Mervyn Peake, wrote and illustrated the Gormenghast trilogy. Peñate had started his Classics degree at UCL – he’s one of a minority of pop stars with a favourite Greek myth (it’s Sissyphus should you wonder what) – when he hooked up with the indie club and label, Young Turks. It soon became clear that music was going to win out over Homeric script. Well, in terms of his day job, anyway: “I love Classics. There’s a lot to learn from people who lived 2,000 years ago.”

So which are the records that formed him? Well, for starters there’s Prince, Todd Rundgren, JJ Cale and Daryl Hall and John Oates. “I like stuff that’s soulful, happy and intelligent – and I don’t like music ironically. I don’t understand that ‘guilty pleasures’ thing. Why should it be guilty?”

Peñate’s newly-trademarked dance styles have also marked him out as a trenchant individualist. For those who’ve missed his electrifying live shows – and he’s done enough of them, touring pretty much non-stop for the past 18 months, though the faint-hearted should watch out for the regular stage invasions during ‘Torn On The Platform’ – or the early black and white footage of ‘Second, Minute or Hour’ live, it’s a kind of rockabilly skank that pitches up into a lurching, Breakfast Club ‘80s kick-out. It’s a cool manoeuvre. “I’ve always been into dancing,” he grins. “Me and the boys at school’d lock n pop in a circle for hours and hours.” And the rockabilly thing? “I listen to a lot of soul and folk and if you speed it up it sounds like rockabilly. I guess I’m egging it on in photos.”

Produced in the main by Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Editors and Kasabian), Matinee is a positive pop gem and a brilliant introduction to the super-talented young man behind it. Recorded in London, Los Angeles and Philadelphia – the latter thanks to a recording session with electro hip-hop maestro RJD2 on the track ‘Learning Lines’ – it’s possibly one of the most playable records of the year, one you’ll want to rewind and rewind and rewind ‘til you can sing along to all of it. “I didn’t write this album to sell loads of records,” Jack says. “I did it because I wanted to create something joyous.”

“A musical approach that lurches from quirky, ska-inflicted punk pop…to heartfelt, soul-tinged ballads” Q
“His super-fast, super-funky sets are astounding” GQ
“South London soul boy poet Jack Penate is the UK’s best new singer-songwriter” NME
“An irresistible force” Daily Mail
“It’s clear to hear in his lyrics that there’s more depth to Jack’s performance than mere spectacle.” BBC.co.uk
Jack Peñate’s debut album, Matinee, is out now, with the single, ‘Second, Minute or Hour’.

Tickets £11.00
Doors 8pm
~Please note this show was rescheduled from Saturday 13th October – original tickets are valid for the new date~

Tickets available from Katy Daly’s, Virgin & all usual Ticketmaster outlets. Credit card bookings & info: 0870 243 4455 or book online at