A decent turn out for a Sunday night to see Jesus Jones who have been playing a few UK dates in support of their excellent new album ‘Passages’. First up were three piece Beautiful Mechanica who mixed synths/programming with a swirl of guitar chords, coupled with the high end vocals of their front man Graham Sampson. Shades of Suede, Japan and Placebo in their sound which had a few good tunes especially when the synths took the lead, however some songs lacked that memorable melody.
No such issues with headliners Jesus Jones who have their original line-up still intact, namely Mike Edwards (vocals/guitar), Jerry De Borg (guitar), Iain Baker (keys/programming) and Gen (drums), although no Al Doughty on bass for the recent gigs as he now resides in the US. In his place is ex-Beekeepers bassist Gary Thatcher.
Kicking off with ‘Zeroes and Ones’ the band never let up the pace – being at the leading edge of the late 80’s/early 90’s dance rock and grebo genres they don’t really do slow songs or ballads. First song of the night off the new album was one of the album’s highlights ‘Suck It Up’, which certainly has a stronger emphasis on the rock side of their sound than their earlier songs.
Only three songs into the set and we get their biggest hit ‘International Bright Young Thing’ which got the crowd going. After this song the vocals of Mike Edwards could be heard better, as they had been pretty hard to pick out in the sound mix. Otherwise no real sound gremlins in the night and good to see another new song ‘How’s This Even Going Down?’ getting a good reception (although this song was released in 2016 before making the ‘Passages’ album). Shame ‘Chemistry’ didn’t make the set as for me it is one of the album’s highlights.
The pace never flagged, indeed Iain Baker on keys/programming was in a permanent dance trance and at times it looked like he was having as much, if not more, fun than the audience! The classics like ‘Real, Real, Real’ and ‘Right Here, Right Now’ sounded as superb now as they did back in the day, with Mike Edwards joking that he always wanted to change the title of ‘Right Here, Right Now’. He still has the vocals with limited between song banter preferring to let the music do the talking.
Three encores, starting with another new song ‘Where Are All the Dreams?’, then ‘Idiot Stare’ before a full on dance rock epic in ‘Info Freako’ (championed by Bruno Brookes back in the day on BBC Radio 1!). That was a suitably energetic end to their highly enjoyable set. Jesus Jones are still on top of their game and a real treat to see live. Ignore the musical labels that can put some off, in Jesus Jones you have a band who put a smile on your face and a beat in your soul.
Review by Jason Ritchie
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