Gig review: THE JOKERS The Monarch, Camden, 7 January 2015

A cold and rainy Wednesday night in early January in Camden may not be the best time to stage a gig, however full marks to the Jokers for travelling down from Liverpool to play. They had a rather famous drummer in their ranks too, Mel Gaynor of Simple Minds, who I last saw on the stage of the O2 Arena back in 2013. They also had a new bass player, Phil Hartley formerly of 90’s indie rockers Space.

There was a support, a covers band called the Banned who played a mix of songs from the Foo Fighters, Nirvana and the Stereophonics. It’s okay for some but I never have liked covers bands as I’d rather listen to the original music!

The Jokers have been around since 2006 and have released two albums to date, the latest being 2013’s rather enjoyable ‘The Rock ‘N’ Roll Show’. I had keep trying to see them live but kept missing tem, the last time being last summer at Guilfest (RIP). The band still features original members guitarist Paul Hurst and vocalist Wane Parry, with their all star rhythm section.

Kicking off with the grove filled ‘V.I.B.E.’ the band soon hit the ground running. Wane Parry soon had the small, but perfectly formed, crowd working well joining in with a singing session and the band have lots of catchy hard rock tunes, including ‘Radio’ and ‘Dr Rock Head’. Guitarist Paul Hurst was all riffs and smiles, whilst Mel Gaynor seemed at ease with the surroundings and slightly smaller drum kit than he is used to.

Sadly couldn’t catch all of their set as public transport called, although my journey back was not quite as far as the band had to go! The Jokers are as good live as their two albums promised and they just need that lucky break to shift them up a level in recognition and fanbase.

Review by Jason Ritchie

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