Tuesday, March 29, 2011
My thanks to Mr Duff for this report from Edinburgh last night. My thoughts on the JJR are known and to be honest, I never really got The Bellrays either but I never saw them and I won’t make it to Glasgow tonight. One thing I do know is that they shouldn’t be opening for these hokey sonic snake oil salesmen.
Without actually trying, I must have seen the Jim Jones Revue 9 or 10 times now - they've either been supporting someone I wanted to see or have been playing for free somewhere nearby - and I could never put my finger on exactly why there was such a fuss about them, or why I couldn't find it in me to care. Sure all the necessary ingredients are there, but despite repeated viewings and much benefit of the doubt all that volume and noise just doesn't communicate. Nearly every early review of the Revue namechecked Little Richard and the MC5. I have to say I never got the connection to the Five.
It took Mr Boyle's throwaway comment last night to expose what the real comparisons are. "It's like Spedding playing with Freddie 'Fingers' Lee" he said to me and in that instant it became clear - the JJR references are mid-70's rock'n'roll pastiche. They've a lot more in common with Crazy Cavan & The Rhythm Rockers or The Wild Angels or others of that breed than the 'oh-so-much-cooler' touchstones that usually get brought up. Add a wee dash of Slade Alive and you've got the JJR down. Exaggerated, overdone and soulless rehashes of historic high-points is what they deal in.
The Bellrays, who supported (!) the JJR last night despite being trumpeted as 'Aretha Franklin fronting the Stooges' are in truth a good deal more than a hodge-podge mix of the more obvious points of your record collection. They were the real stars last night. The real sweat and raw rock'n'roll that they brought to bear last night was a privilege to witness. Lisa started out a little shaky, the voice was all there but she seemed nervous. By the time they kicked into Sun Comes Down she's lost all self-consciousness and the whole band sound totally at ease. They close the show with Black Lightning, the album opener and despite calls for more, the DJ comes over the PA and it's over.
The Bellrays were triumphant. I believe that they're only doing Edinburgh and Glasgow before heading off to Europe. If you have the chance, I'd recommend you catch them at Tut's tonight. You can skip the headliners and still get home at a reasonable time too.