The Jim Jones Revue - York Fibbers, 20.04.12
On the outskirts of central York lies Fibbers, crammed in underneath a Job Centre, the Duchess venue and a bunch of old flats. The loudest band in the history (and perhaps future) of rock’n’roll was in town - The Jim Jones Revue.
The night’s support was …And the Hangnails, a noisy rock duo of guitar and drums (seems a more common set-up for bands recently), and Welsh surf-rock group Y Niwl (“The Fog”)- Pipeline, anyone? Quite an interesting mix, especially consecutively, but the audience seemed to enjoy them nonetheless - a few people in attendance left after Y Niwl which is odd if you consider what they missed out on during the rest of the show.
By the time The Jim Jones Revue took the the stage, Fibbers was packed and pulsing a real excitement in the air. The band burst into the night’s first song“512” which really epitomises their brand of dirty blues rock’n’roll meets punk - thunderously loud but with a rhythm you can easily dance to.
The Jim Jones Revue played a varied setlist, from the crowd favourites such as“Burning Your House Down”, “Another Daze”, “Cement Mixer” and “Princess and the Frog”, a selection of new songs and some covers too. It was hard to catch the names of their new songs, but they included the dark “Chain Gang”,“Where’d the Money Go?” and “Seven Times Around the Sun” - the latter being a song unlike any Jim Jones Revue tune heard before: stripped back to percussion, a bit of piano and every band member doing a bit of singing.
The Jim Jones Revue really know how to get everyone on their feet and moving. There was plenty of crowd involvement, from just clapping to loud choruses of “fuck this shit” after a bit of preaching during an interlude in “Who’s Got Mine?” - the perfect remedy to days apparently. Who wants to just stand still at a show like this?
Just when you think you’re too tired, The Jim Jones Revue come back and do two encore sections of energising rock’n’roll. One of the encore songs was their reworked version of a unreleased Jeffrey Lee Pierce demo, “Ain’t My Problem Baby” (if you haven’t heard it look it up online!). If there’s one extra thing that The Jim Jones Revue are good at, it’s revamping old songs, such as “Big Hunk O’ Love”, the old Elvis classic. Their version has a lot more kick to it and Jim Jones possibly has just about as much confidence and presence as the King himself (but with fewer crazy girls in his audience) with a touch of Iggy Pop thrown in, right in the faces of the people at the front whilst somehow managing to avoid/ignore the annoying feedback buzz from the centre monitors that pierced every time he tried to more forward - the equipment at Fibbers just mustn’t have been up to such a loud band.
These guys are not a band to “lower the bar” - every show is great, guaranteed. So if you haven’t seen them yet, make sure you get down to one of their shows this autumn!
April’s gig treats
The Dandy Warhols
The delightfully mystifying Dandy Warhols return to our shores this month to tour their upcoming album This Machine. Go check them out, info here.
Australian trio Tracer are back and bringing their gritty classic rock sound with them. Another group emerging from the bluesy rock n roll ashes, they are well worth checking out. Dates and tickets can be found here.
Legendary blues performer is back for a string of UK arena headline dates. Go and be amazed! Info here.
The Jim Jones Revue
Full of blues swagger and catchy riffs, The Jim Jones Revue will have you dancing all night long! Don’t miss out, tickets can be found here.
Gig of the year - The Jim Jones Revue supported by Lewis Floyd Henry. The Plug, Sheffield, 2nd April 2011.
I’ve been to many gigs this year, but none stand out like this one. First, the show was started off by perhaps the best support act I’ve seen in quite a long time: Lewis Floyd Henry, the one man band. To some he’s ’just a crazy busker’, but they do say that there’s a fine line between insane and genius, and on that night in The Plug everyone in attendance could see he’s closer to the latter, mixing bluesy elements from Hendrix in with the darker side of Black Sabbath, with a touch of The Stooges and a nod to Beefheart. An interesting mix to say the least, and all created with help from a tiny drum kit and a somewhat battered guitar. At one point he sat and rocked the seen-better-days pram beside him, which held his battery powered amp. Insane or genius, indeed.
And this gig of the year wouldn’t be complete without the main attraction, The Jim Jones Revue. Taking influence from Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard (and 100 others besides probably), every ‘Revue song is another hit of relentless rock’n’roll, from the very first beat of "Hey Hey Hey Hey" (the night’s opener) to the last bit of encore "Princess and the Frog". Although their sound hails back to 50s/60s rock’n’roll, the ‘Revue still sound modern - they’re much more in-your-face and somewhat louder than any of the original rock’n’roll acts, perhaps inspired by a punk band or two along the way.
On this night in Sheffield they took to the stage full of energy and presence, putting many other bands out there to shame and easily standing out of the multitudes of other artists around. You can clearly tell that the ‘Revue enjoy playing, no matter the attendance, the venue, the city - they put their hearts and souls into their music, which is a refreshing change to say the least and is probably the main reason why this gig is my gig of the year.
Album of the year - "And Them Boys Done Swang" by Electric Boys
Electric Boys’ 4th album, “And Them Boys Done Swang”, is their comeback after more than a decade’s gap. But it is more than just a comeback album, as although it does recall the earlier releases (so much that the band refer to it as “Groovus Maximus Part II”), it is a great album in its own right, pulling the band into the 21st Century with a more modern take on the Electric Boys brand of funky classic rock, whilst still paying tribute to their 70s influences.
Released in May this year, it has quite a summery feel to it, especially in tracks "Rollin’ Down The Road" and "Chickalicious". Amongst the fun vibe of some songs, others take a more serious approach, touching on subjects such as alcohol addiction ("The Day The Gypsies Came to Town" and "Put Your Arms Around Me"), but this is all ontop of a groove that the band is known for: Hendrix-esque licks (Conny Bloom was born with a Strat, surely?), cool and inventive bass lines, hit-the-mark drums. Serious subjects or not, “…Swang” isn’t going to bring you down any time soon.
The Jim Jones Revue - Shepherds Bush Empire, 27.10.11
"9.9 on the Richter Scale" - it certainly doesn’t get any louder than this, nor would you expect anything less from The Jim Jones Revue. I have been lucky enough to catch them live three times already this year, at much smaller venues, and I can safely say that they never disappoint. Apparently, there had been rumours earlier in the day that the Revue weren’t going to play, for what reason I am still unaware, but contrary to this sour grapevine chatter, the show was on and people were coming into the Shepherds Bush Empire in droves.
The Jim Jones Revue went right into their set with "High Horse", as full of energy as ever - their energy puts many bands out there to shame and these guys tour all year round with hardly a long break. The audience feeds off of this energy as they dance, shout, jostle and sing their way through the Revue’s extensive setlist - which covered the majority of their songs to date! A lot of the audience’s pent-up emotions are released, as at a gig like this you can act how you like: dance like the possessed, sing loudly in the wrong key, or pretend you’re playing the piano if you feel like it (as a few audience members took to doing), and not care what people think of you.
I will never tire of watching the Jim Jones Revue performing live. Each band member has his own distinct personality, so there’s always something interesting going on onstage to watch. If they’re ever bored, tired or fed up, they never let it show, always remaining (mostly) professional. Tonight, they looked quite pleased to be playing to such a large crowd in their hometown (the ground floor of Shepherds Bush Empire was jam packed with an eager audience) as they played favourites such as “Rock’n’Roll Psychosis”, “Burning Your House Down” and "Shoot First". In addition to this, they played a few new songs - lucky Empire or what? The first of which was "Where’s the Money Gone", which I hope to hear on an album some day soon. "It Ain’t My Problem Baby" (their reworking of an unreleased Jeffrey Lee Pierce song) got a great reception from the audience, as did the third new song they played, which I unfortunately didn’t catch the name of. The song itself was stripped down, a bit of a stop-start chorus all the way through it and something about “the distance in your eyes”. Intense stuff. The Revue certainly know how to leave an audience gobsmacked and hanging off of every note.
By the time for encores (yep, they played two encores), the Shepherds Bush Empire was muggy hot, sweaty and heaving with people eager for more. Someone threw a cup of beer at the stage (don’t they know how expensive beer is in London?) and Jim Jones asked if they could put that energy into the next songs instead. Good idea, and indeed they did. People went a bit mad during "Hey Hey Hey Hey" and "Big Hunk O’ Love", thrashing about in a group in the centre, crushing those in front into the barrier. Three crowd surfers were slung onto the floor by security. It was all getting a bit too much like a heavy rock or metal gig - not what you’d expect during covers of Elvis Presley and Little Richard really? And still, the crowd hadn’t worn out, showing even more vigour during the second encore for "Princess and the Frog". But then, the show ended, the lights were up and music was being fed through the speakers above. Time to go. Everyone looked back to their normal selves, miles from the craziness of only moments ago, if still a bit bedraggled and tired.
The Jim Jones Revue on Marc Riley's 6 Music show
In case you didn’t tune in yesterday, click the link above to listen to The Jim Jones Revue (“masters of sonic destruction” says a listener!) play four songs for Marc Riley’s show on 6 Music radio. Includes a performance of their new track “Ain’t My Problem Baby” (a reworking of an unreleased Jeffrey Lee Pierce song).
If you’d rather skip through, here’s the song times:
0-8.19 “Big Len" & "Killin’ Spree”
49-57.37 “Ain’t My Problem Baby”
1.12.24-1.19.45 “Rock’n’Roll Psychosis”