On Friday 2nd June the Ivy American Sports Bar & Grill played host to a gig that many in attendance will no doubt remember for many years to come. Organised by the Musicians Association of Gibraltar it was time for Jesse Mclaren aka The Jesse Tree to come back home and perform like only he knows how.
Jesse is fresh off releasing his brand-new EP titled Things To Come. The EP features six tracks, all penned by Jesse himself. The Jesse Tree is a two-piece band featuring Jesse of course and accompanying him on the drums is Aymeric Seva-Poinsignon.
To kick the event off we were treated to a set to one of the Rock’s most gifted songwriters in Guy Valarino. Guy has come a long way and his passion as well as prowess is a spectacle to feel. He kicked off his set with ‘Two More Days’ from his Sleeping On A Couch EP and truthfully after many years without seeing him perform, I was amazed how in awe some still get when watching Guy perform. His songwriting has always been top notch and his lyrics are those you can identify with. No performance of his is complete without what is in my eyes one of my all-time favourite tracks to ever emerge from the Gibraltar Music Scene in Oceans. The track taken from the EP titled of the same name is an emotional one and I am sure I am not the only one who feels it whenever they listen to it. His set went by too fast, and it culminated with a sublime performance of ‘City Walls.’ When that track’s chorus starts, it is VERY hard not to sing along, it is an anthem and one as Gibraltarians or those living on the Rock can agree with. It was very satisfying to see Guy perform, no doubt. An impressive set all around and one that got us all quite geared for The Jesse Tree.
Jesse & I talk a lot over WhatsApp and have heard his material in advance and off the record. His DNA speaks for itself and like me, he grew up around the greats of his time, including his own father the legendary Stephen Mclaren, Giles Ramirez, and countless others. One quality I admire is that many seasoned musicians from the Scene are always happy to assist him in his tracks. I know Nolan Frendo has done backing vocals on some, Giles Ramirez, Jeremy Perez, Michael Martinez, and Christopher Cortes too. It is beautiful to know that these talented musicians give their time to assist who in my eyes has his feet firmly on the ground and rightfully so.
Jesse kicked off his set with ‘Inside Out’ taken from his 2021 EP It Is What It Is. Everything about the first track was energetic and it was a theme that started from the first note to the last one of the night. A truly magnificent way to kick off his set, no doubt. His latest EP is full of anthems and if you were there at the Ivy to witness the gig, you would think you were watching the likes of Coldplay! The crowd sang along to every song which was a boost for Jesse who was moved by their willingness to learn the lyrics to all his songs. There is no greater feeling for any musician, I am sure.
The mere fact that The Jesse Tree is just a two piece for me works better. Sure, a full band would be awesome, but their friendship and brotherhood is something you can tell Jesse is incredibly grateful for and the feeling is mutual. One of the highlights from the gig was seeing Jesse crowd surf onto the sea of people in attendance! Being a huge U2 fan himself, it was cool to hear Jesse perform one of their songs in Beautiful Day and it was a wonderful choice as it summed up the whole experience for him. As the old saying goes, time flies when you are having fun. Those were the words that echoed around the venue as soon as we approached the last song. For his last track we were treated to an incredible rendition of Amabella. His vocals really shine through in this one and it was the most excellent choice to end the night.
Speaking to Insight after the gig Jesse said; “It was a pleasant Homecoming! Thanks for a beautiful and emotional night, I could not have asked for a better response from you all.”
You can track Jesse on your social media of choice by visiting:
* I would like to personally thank the Musicians Association of Gibraltar as well as the Management down at the Ivy Sports Bar & American Grill for their warm welcome and hospitality.