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Thursday, 4 August 2011

Live Review - The Jim Jones Revue, The 100 Club, London

100 Club, Oxford Street, London
July 12th 2011

Can nothing stop the inexorable rise of The Jim Jones Revue? It’s been one hell of a year for these new saviours of rock ’n’ roll: since the release of another critically acclaimed album, Burning Your Down House, last September, the band has constantly been on the road, taking in dates across the UK, America, Europe, Scandinavia and Australia. Even the departure of their titanic ivory tickler, Elliott Mortimer, earlier this year, has done little to dampen the ardour of their live performances. Now, almost a year on from their last album, they’ve reaped the rewards of clocking up all those miles on the motorway, in the air and at sea by achieving the accolade of being nominated for a Mojo Honours List Award for the
second year running: this time in the best live band category, and don’t they just deserve it! This gig at London’s legendary 100 Club was hastily arranged in honour of that nomination and sandwiched into an already hectic summer schedule of festival appearances in the UK and more dates on the continent – it sold out in under 10 minutes!

Unfortunately arriving too late to catch the support act Thee Spivs, there was just enough time to grab a drink at the bar before muscling through the capacity crowd to get nearer the front for a better view. The intimate, up close and personal, sweaty environs of the subterranean 100 Club certainly suits The Jim Jones Revue’s brand of unadulteratedly primal, high octane rock ’n’ roll right down to the
ground (or should that be right under the ground?), and they sure didn’t fail to deliver.

Taking the stage to the strains of Screaming Jay Hawkins’ ‘I Put A Spell On You’, the band fire straight into their last single ‘Dishonest John’, before proceeding to bulldoze their way through a now familiar set that includes, ‘Rock ’n’ Roll Psychosis’, ‘Another Daze’, and a mighty version of ‘Who’s Got Mine? – complete with enthusiastic audience participation - as well as the latest crop of favourites from Burning Your House Down. The likes of ‘Killin’ Spree’, ‘Big Len’ and ‘Foghorn’ have all become firm favourites, but ‘High Horse’ receives a particularly frenzied reaction.
With bodies occasionally reeling onto the low-level stage, Rupert Orton’s guitar effect pedals take a direct hit at least once, requiring attention from the guitar tech, but there doesn’t appear to be any lasting damage. Backed by the redoubtable powerhouse rhythm section, of Gavin Jay on bass and Nick Jones on drums, Ort
on throws classic rock ’n’ roll star shapes and lurches forward every now and then onto a riser placed in front of the stage, swinging his guitar just above the heads of those around him. Turn to stage right and Henri Herbert, no longer the new boy, resembles a methamphetamine crazed Chicano as he hammers away at his keyboards with all the ferocity of a raging mastiff. Meanwhile, ever the epitome of cool, Jim Jones has the audience eating out of his hand with more call and response antics on ‘512’– there’s a real synergy going on here - before winding-up with crowd pleasers, ‘Elemental’ and ‘Big Hunk O’ Love’.

Leaving the stage for barely enough time to mop their brows they’re back on again. Jones, perhaps sensing that the exuberant, albeit good-natured, slamming in front of the stage is deterring those of a less boisterous disposition to enter the fray, asks for a bit of calm in order to allow some of the ladies up-front to dance. Everyone concerned duly obliges and the band burns the house down for a final time with a now customary encore of ‘The Princess & The Frog’. As it reaches its finale, Jones yanks his guitar up and down for maximum feedback effect before hoisting it above his head as if making a sacrificial offering. Orton meanwhile thrashes his Gretsch within a millimetre of its life before the band – as one – hit that inevitable climactic downstroke, finally ending the set as explosively as it began... and then it’s all over.

Eventually everyone drifts out of the venue on a universal high into Oxford Street, taking with them more than a little warmth as they disappear into an unseasonably cool July night. Live music really doesn’t get much better than this – that Mojo Honours List nomination for best live band is fully deserved.
Rich Deakin

Set List:
Dishonest John
Rock ’n’ Roll Psychosis
Another Daze
Big Len
High Horse
Shoot First
Burning Your House Down
Cement Mixer
Who’s Got Mine?
Killin’ Spree
Big Hunk O’ Love

Princess & The Frog

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