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The Jim Jones Revue, The Sebright Arms | reviews, news & interviews

The Jim Jones Revue, The Sebright Arms

The Jim Jones Revue, The Sebright Arms

Old school rockers mix Little Richard and The Cramps to pack a ferocious punch

The Jim Jones Revue: boisterous boys

The final concert of The Jim Jones Revue’s four-night stand at Bethnal Green boozer The Sebright Arms found the box-like basement venue packed with men – and a few women – who would recall a time when watching short-haired rock bands in this type of space was the cutting edge of British music culture. These days going to see a rock band on a Saturday night is possibly as quaint as attending a scooter rally. But The Jim Jones Revue conjure up those halcyon days when leather jacket-wearing rockers communicated a primal excitement like little else.

Considering TJJR can sell out London venues the size of Koko and Shepherds Bush Empire this run on the fringes of Hackney was a return to their roots and a chance to have some fun. Friends and family packed in along with a fan base that, age wise, possibly draws from an even older demographic than the band (whose founder members are well into their forties). I took my earplugs along. Wisely - as TJJR play at a volume that surely found the pub’s foundations shaking.

This front line have the kind of look that boys want to copy and girls want to date

The secret behind their success is their ferocious live performances. Decidedly old school, their sound owes a sizeable debt to the likes of Little Richard, The MC5 and The Cramps. They look sharp, command the stage with military precision and play with a dynamic that few contemporary rock bands would dare strive for. As with Brixton’s Alabama 3, these musicians recall a time when playing in a rock’n’roll band was a vocation that demanded absolute commitment. The raw power and wild enthusiasm they generate on stage has ensured an appreciative international audience. Where indie rock often appears fey and overly self-conscious and metal bands too shrill and tuneless, TJJR make boisterous music that has both a groove and a sexy sense of fun.

Vocalist Jim Jones is all swagger, chat and raw-throated croon. Guitarist Rupert Orton pulls moves and punches power chords that suggest he is channelling the spirit of Johnny Thunders. Bassist Gavin Jay, the youth of this mob, moves as if receiving electric shock treatment. This front line have the kind of look that boys want to copy and girls want to date. Good hair, too. These three are hirsute enough to model combs and gels.

If they look good they sound even better – what a tight unit. Fluid, bluesy piano and fatback drums keep things swinging. And it is this sense of "swing" – the understanding that it’s rock and "roll" rather than simply the static "rock"  – that makes TJJR so engaging. They swagger and sweat and collectively shout the choruses to their blustery anthems and an old punk in the audience does a bit of a pogo. I know, it’s only rock’n’roll, but they – and I – like it.

They look sharp, command the stage with military precision and play with a dynamic that few contemporary rock bands would dare strive for


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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