On a Friday night at The Blind Pig, the air was thick with anticipation. People wandered around, drink in hand, crowding closer to the front, anxiously awaiting what was to come. After a snowstorm postponed his original show, Jake Scott, a singer-songwriter with strong pop influences, was back in Ann Arbor and his fans were ready.
Before Scott hit the stage, his opener, Sam MacPherson, primed the audience with a catchy beat and apt guitar skills buoying even his saddest songs. His newest song, “How Do You Dress for the Rain,” captured the hopelessness of unrequited love: “When I come close to giving in / You call me make it feel like it always did / I keep waiting for the sky to fall apart.” “Last Minute,” dedicated to his longtime crush-turned-girlfriend, is a classic tale of the right person at the wrong time, set to a swinging drum beat that got the whole crowd clapping. He ended his set by asking if the crowd was ready for Jake Scott — the answer was a resounding cheer.
After a brief 30 minute wait, the purple LED “Jake Scott” sign lit up, igniting the crowd. Scott started his set off with “Like No One Does” and a promise to give the show everything he had. I was struck by just how many couples made up the crowd. I suppose this makes sense — Scott’s music almost exclusively focuses on the joys and trials of his romantic relationships. He even confessed to the audience, “I make a lot of love songs.” The time between songs was filled with Scott’s gushing about the love he has for his wife Rachel, a massive inspiration for much of his work.
Part of Scott’s charm is his openness about his rawest feelings with his audience. “We Haven’t Looked at Our Phones,” one of the songs Scott wrote about his relationship with Rachel, talks about the feeling of being so in the moment with another person that you don’t even have the urge to scroll through your phone. Scott’s anecdotes and personal experiences weaved into the lyrics shone through his performance and are a massive part of what makes him so appealing to his dedicated fans. I was surprised to notice that almost every member of the audience knew the lyrics to each song Scott played — their enthusiasm maintained the show’s high energy.
The Blind Pig lent itself perfectly to the homey and comfortable feeling that both Scott and MacPherson create in their music. The venue’s uniquely intimate atmosphere allowed me to catch MacPherson celebrating after his set with shots from the bar — not something you get to see in a massive stadium. There aren’t many places to go in the venue other than near the people around you. The mirrored walls make it feel as if the crowd might go on forever.
One of the more unique aspects of Scott’s set was when the audience all had the opportunity to be a part of his performance for The Kelly Clarkson Show. His new song, “Texas Girl,” about his love for Rachel, was set to premiere on the show, and his team needed to record his performance for the segment. After a brief lesson to the audience on the lyrics, Scott donned a bomber jacket and sang his new song as the crowd all jumped, danced and sang along for the cameras.
Prior to the show, the limited exposure I’d had to Scott’s music came from several of his songs that have a home on the collaborative love song playlist I share with my partner. My favorite song of his, “Whole Lives,” is a perfect encapsulation of everything that Scott excels at — a catchy love song with lyrics that make you squeeze the person you love most a little extra. I enjoyed getting to know Scott better through his performance.
His music is the kind you turn on for a spring cleaning day with the love of your life. It’s music for dancing in the kitchen while you make pasta from scratch with a glass of wine or driving down a winding coastal highway in the summer with all the windows rolled down. After a recent signing with Elektra Records, I think it’s safe to say that Scott will continue to create music for the romantics among us for many more years to come.
Daily Arts Writer Isabella Kassa can be reached at email@example.com