It was a Tuesday (or possibly even a Wednesday evening) when Radio 1 DJ Bruno Brookes first played “Info Freako”. I had never heard anything like it before – the sound was a chaotic full-on sonic assault that completely mesmerised me. It was exciting and thrilling, especially when juxtaposed to the previous track (something by U2). This was raw, and this was the future!
I can’t count how many times I saw Jesus Jones, but they were a regular fixture of my gig-going life. I of course wasn’t the only one to notice, hence the rise from indie outsiders to genuine global pop stars (especially in America). Things then went at bit quieter.
That (thankfully) has been addressed with the soon to be released new album “Passages” and UK tour to boot to whet our appetites. The venue is hot (and packed) however I do manage to find somewhere to perch. The anticipation is palpable as Messer’s Edwards, Baker, De Borg, Matthews and Thatcher take to the stage.
Looking lean and fit, they tear into the set as the place erupts in ecstasy. With an abundance of material, putting together a set list must be challenging. What strikes me however is the quality of the songs - every song (be it a hit, album track or new track) are all equals, and much like parents it’s impossible to choose a favourite child. But as I don’t have children I can indulge and without hesitation state that “What Would You Know” was the highlight, or maybe it was “Who, Where, Why” or could even have been “Grateful” from the new album........
The band are tight, and make a very big noise (which is matched by the performance) – Iain Baker (Keys and Vocals) obviously tours in a straitjacket and is only released at stage time. Like “Tigger” on an “E”, he thrashes about the keyboard, tearing up and down the stage. Mike Edwards (vocals/guitar) is not only in very fine voice (and range), but also good humour judging by the quips and banter between songs. Mike literally throws himself into his work as he leaps/hurls and jumps around the stage. If you have come to watch someone earnestly sitting on a stool, strumming an acoustic guitar – you are most definitely in the wrong place!
That’s not to say there weren’t any quieter moments though courtesy of the gorgeous and beautiful “blissed” which afforded us time to catch our collective breaths.
A ferocious “Bring It on Down” complete with Jerry DeBorg’s charging guitar and effortless cool is a dirty cascade into this techno laced slice of adrenaline. The unrelenting drumming of Gen forcefully drives each song forward and you can see how much effort and work goes into delivering the beats and backbone of the performance. His partner in crime Gary Thatcher (who is not unaccustomed to throwing a few shapes himself) gleefully hammers his baselines into submission.
A few minor technical issues are easily brushed off and don’t take anything away from the show. At this point, it would be rude not to mention the bands sixth member…..the crowd! It’s been a long time since I have been at a gig where the audience were truly there to lose themselves in music and to lap up every note and utterance. The atmosphere is electric, the smiles as wide as the voices are loud. An hour and a half later I leave battered (in a good way) with ears ringing, sweat dripping, and infectious new song “Grateful” swirling round my head; of which grateful is the appropriate word. In a world dominated by landfill indie, tepid troubadours and vacuous R “n” B, Jesus Jones are testament that music can be an exhilarating and exciting place to be. More Please!