USA Gig Reviews 2001
UK Reviews are here.
The Beat Kitchen Chicago 6/12/01
Having waited, oh, ten years or so to catch Jesus Jones live, and virtually giving up hope after an over-long period of general record company screwiness delaying their releases and suggesting they get a new singer, I thought my December 6th live experience in Chicago's Beat Kitchen on 2100 Belmont Ave. was some sort of swamp gas hallucination at first. But no, no, no, it was the real thing... well, a modified version of the real thing-- the 5 piece was down to a 4 piece since the keyboardist had to work, or something.
I couldn't write this as a concert review per se as I cannot be remotely critical of a band who, in ten years of truly forward thinking sonic experiments and great songwriting, really are my ideal version of what music should sound like. I think one general complaint over their career is that some tunes had a "one man band" sound due to programmed drums and robotic guitars on 1993's techno rock Perverse album and 1997's Already. I wanted to hear THE BAND. But the newest release, London, finally brings a full band sound out of the Joneses, in between segues into UK Garage and 2 step. London (out on Mi5 records) is fast, rock and roll, diverse beyond all expectations, fun and down to earth. Just a great band.
The amazing thing, then, is that live they really would improve so much further, with hyperkinetic leaps and seizures, hilarious between song banter, spot-on live drums from new guy Tony and some sharp looking shoes. How bassist Alan Doughty, also of Chicago's Waco Brothers, can play at all while in a continual epileptic fit and having a fishing cap pulled over his eyes is also unbelievable. I would get into more specifics except the bassist's used car dealer Carter flooded me with free alcohol. I do recall a local insane poet who resembled Santa Claus in a Star Wars ball cap giving some impromptu poetry just before the band hit the stage, but I couldn't tell you what he said.
They blasted through 15 songs very loudly and stylishly, with smiles on their sweaty faces the whole time-- even on a stage only 20 square feet large, the guys put out Herculean energy like an Iron Man marathon runner with Red Bull injected into his eyeballs. Al Doughty (bass) and Jerry Deborg (guitar) actually made strides to kick each other in the ass during the show, and 7 foot tall singer Mike Edwards could've easily put his head through the roof when he made his flying leaps across the closet-sized stage. They played:
1. Message 2. Move Mountains 3. International Bright Young Thing 4. Stranger 5. Rocket Ships of La Jolla 6. Real, Real, Real 7. In the Face of All of This 8. Right Here, Right Now 9. Half Up the Hill 10. Nowhere Slow 11. To Get There 12. Info Freako 13. Zeroes and Ones 14. Who? Where? Why? 15. Idiot Stare
It is worth noting that at the following Michigan shows, which were the last two of this tour, they omitted "Half Up the Hill."
The night wrapped up with a wonderfully casual meet-and-great with the band and the 150 or so fans who packed out the Beat Kitchen, my fiancée and I getting more free drinks thanks to drummer Tony, me slipping some Artificial Human music into the hands of a long time hero (who I have ripped off innumerable times to begin with), and getting onto the guest list for the following night in Detroit. Energy, songs, a unique sound, an incredible volume and a hell of a lot of character-- that's a Jesus Jones show.
Detroit and Ann Arbor, the two Michigan shows that wrapped up this tour, went equally well, with crowds of around 150 each. Detroit benefited from the best sound and lights-- it was at a theatre, not a club-- and also gave the band the most head room for their leaping and ninja kicks. As far as making the crowd go bonkers, 12-year old "Info Freako" and 8-year old "Idiot Stare" split the prize. With the dance beats and bizarre sounds that have always been part of Jesus Jones's sound, those songs, despite their age, still sound as fresh as they did when they were released-- perhaps even more so than before when played live.
Ann Arbor began with technical snafus courtesy of "Darren the DAT," the keyboard player of this tour, but the humor and professionalism with which this was dealt with-- no hissyfits or storming off stage-- again point to the strengths of Jesus Jones. The keyboard-less opener "Message" held up without the usual weird sounds, and 3/4s into the show, everything was running on all cylinders. "Right Here, Right Now" was dedicated to all the people who had traveled very far to see them, and we couldn't help but blush a bit-- this was after 800 miles of driving on out part. "To Get There" managed to bring out some strange skanking/ mosh pit behavoir from attendees.
Our dedication was again rewarded by pre- and post- show hanging outs with drummer Tony Arthy, a free autographed copy of the new album for my fiancée, and some casual chit-chat with Mike Edwards once again. We gave them Simpsons figures for Christmas and it was time to leave.
The Jesus Jones experience, something I never thought I would get, happened 3 consecutive nights that I wouldn't trade for anything. The personableness of the men and their concerts makes every other band pale in comparison.
David Miller - check out his ace pics too at his site.
The Beat Kitchen Chicago 6/12/01
I wouldn't really call this a review, more of an outpouring. I enjoyed myself so much, I can only recall for sure what the first two and last
one track was, Message, Move Mountains and Idiot Stare.
I'm going to guess that it was much the same set as they played in NewYork. I suppose rather than work, I should flesh out this vague rambling
posted Friday Morning into something intelligible.
Who: Jesus Jones
Where: The Beat Kitchen (Chicago)
Why: Support of the New Album London
Arrived at The Beat Kitchen around 9pm, had never been there before, so I had no idea what to expect, it turns out it has bands where you'd expect the kitchen to be (in back), yet still finds somewhere to cook and serve food.
Upon entering the premises, I noticed Alan was occupying the first booth, but I didn't recognise anyone else at that point. As we were collecting our tickets we noticed that Jon Langford was on the guest-list, which is to be expected and it turned out that more of the Waco Brothers posse turned up later.
The Beat Kitchen is a narrow rectangular hall, we found a space up against the wall down at the front stage right, in which to encamp.
The support bands came and went, Mecrcyside was OK, they should have given her way more reverb on the vocals, I was paged by my work for the start
of the Blue Mockingbirds, and was sitting outside on a fire hydrant, using a cellphone, when Mike walked by with guitar case in hand and entered the
Beat Kitchen. I noted that he was thinner, even than I remember him being back in 1990, when I saw them a comparative world a way on the Doubt
Tour in the Queen Margaret's Union in Glasgow, that and the Quaker Beard stubble, he looked like he had maybe found God.
Went back in for the end of the Blue Mockingbirds, caught some song that I am told was a hit in the US called I Melt With You (?) or something like
that, never having been a fan of Modern English I had no idea why everyone else could sing a long.
Now things were getting interesting, the drums were re-arranged slightly, it seems the Blue Mockingbirds drummer is left handed (though he was
playing with the kit setup right handed) and the snare was moved and the angle of the Toms adjusted, and Al appeared to check his bass, it looked
like the event was about to start.
Someone came on stage, maybe the singer from Mercyside, to introduce a poet, who spouted an odd, but thankfully short verse and then Jesus
Jones walked on stage.
No intro's, no hello we are's, BANG, straight into Message, Mike kind of paused during it, whilst the band played on, saying something like, 'I'm
waiting for my cue' at this point someone must have poked Darren the DAT player, as the samples burst forth and Mike went on.
Straight from Message into Move Mountains, Jerry and Al bounced back and forth on their respective sides of the stage, like they had been waiting
years to release all this energy.
The crowd had, for the most part, come to see Jesus Jones, they were bouncing away, singing along. The sound was great, the mix, perfect, no
one thing drowning out the other.
I was enjoying myself too much, by this point, to actually have a cohesive memory of the set list. I looked at the New York one, and it had the
same songs (I think) as I remember them playing.
Noteable points were, well pretty much every song. To introduce Real, Real, Real, Mike said something about, 'and to think we used to hate
playing this tune', Info Freako was for anyone who could remember back that far, and almost everyone could I think as they were all singing
I was plenty glad I had bought the new album, as even the new songs sounded like old familiars, Darren the DAT player excelled himself in
Half up the Hill, one of my favourites.
The new songs fitted right in, Stranger rocks, there's not a lot else you can say about it. I had never heard Jerry sing (almost) lead before,
until To Get There.
International Bright Young Thing another crowd pleaser it seems. Though I can't think of any songs played that weren't
The night ended on Idiot Stare, which Mike said had been voted most popular online, in chat rooms etc.. He then said something about as they
were no longer cheesy rock stars there would be no encore, which was saddening, to think that there was only one more song left, so we all
made the most of it.
After Idiot Stare, the band left, we all waited, thinking perhaps they had been kidding about the no encore thing, but no, that was it. After 5
minutes Alan appeared on stage, everyone cheered, and then he jumped off the front of the stage to go find his mates. Oh well.
The lights came up, the music came back on, and the show was over. I can only say it was totally amazing, after seeing them both on Liquidiser
and Doubt tours (with I think Ocean Colour Scene and Soho respectively) this has to be the best show I have seen in a long, long time, certainly the
best of the three Jesus Jones shows, I have seen and the other two were bloody great.
I think Darren the DAT should be a full time member of the band, or maybe Simon the Sampler / Sequencer, because, as a four piece, JJ rock.
Royal Oak Theatre, Detroit 7/12/01 first off, the venue: nice place, but weird set-up. a converted theatre,i'm guessing. the stage was about 5-6 feet up from where the crowd was
supposed to stand, but that didn't really happen until jesus jones came on--unless you count this one guy who stood there all night. i'm not sure
if he was coherent at all. so, just imagine a theatre, without the normal seating. there were some small (extremely small) tables there, which i
wanted to sprawl out on and get a small nap in before the joneses came on. blah.
second, the opening acts: first was local band 'esion'--pretty good, a little harder than i like, but they really rocked, especially the second
night. next was a local band called 'face'--this was some mixture of 70's/80's weirdness. the band members didn't look like they belonged
together, but still, lead singer had a good voice and danced her ass off. then, there was mercyside and the blue mockingbirds, which are the same
band, minus one vocalist (jennifer b.--i think she's called jennifer?!?)
okay, finally...midnight...out come jerry and al and tony to set up and tune. 5-10 minutes later, we're ready and out walks mike. i'm stoked and
am planted right in front of the mic stand, grinning from ear-to-ear! almost immediately, they crank out 'message,' which has to be one of the
best concert openers i've heard. i love the track to begin with, but it really got everyone going...or at least those of us who were in the pit
area. next was 'move mountains,' which again was great. some banter was blurted by mike after MM, i think. can't remember. all work and no sleep
make bryan bad with details. next up, 'international bright young thing,' which al flubs the lyrics to and mike starts laughing (so did i...funny
stuff to me 'cos al just had this classic look on his face). following this madness was 'stranger.'
okay, now i remember this part. mike starts talking about how he and al came over back in the early days to america and had to do the promo thing
for radio stations, "hi, we're jesus jones, and you're listening to WKTP..." they are doing this one recording and say "...radio station in la
jolla," which they mispronounce. the dj corrects them after laughing about it. how were they to know it was spanish?!? so, by now you know which song
is next--'february.' ONLY KIDDING; it was 'the rocket ships of la jolla.' again, this one got the crowd going, as did 'stranger,' which i failed to
mention. it's nice to see the new ones getting the crowd going.
'real x3' came in next...i think mike said 'this one's from doubt,' or something to that effect. good crowd response from this one as well.
introduction to next song--something to the effect of "this song was written in june, just so you won't think i'm hoping on a bandwagon. it
talks about planes going down and afghanistan, but just remember it was written in june." so they play 'in the face of all of this,' the slowest
song in the set; but still, it was well-received...." the ending was "troubles are now put, troubles are now put, troubles are now put
away....YUP!" i think this next song introduces itself!"--> 'right here right now' i'd say it was the crowd favorite. i think somewhere during
rh,rn, al kicks jerry in the ass and jerry looks dumbfounded.
i don't recall an introduction to this next song--they just rushed into it. the chorus was changed up just a little bit, vocally...it was 'nowhere
slow.' again, well-received. next up was 'to get there,' which mike gave the ESPN introduction to. i wasn't wild about this song when the album
came out, having heard it and played it to death back when it was in mp3 on the web site, but now, i love it.
"this was the first we single we ever put out." cue 'info freako.' nice stuff here! probably the second crowd favorite. mike, jerry, and al were
jumping all about and had this look of nostalgia on their faces. geriatic jesus jones still rock =]
"this song seems a bit outdated now," 'zeroes and ones.' there was more concentration on guitars than from bootlegs i've heard from the pervy
tour. i tend to like the electronic parts of this song, but it still rocked without some of those parts. the last song "is also from doubt"
'who?where?why?'. and after 3 (if even) minutes of cheering, they come back out for an encore. mike comes out buttoning his shirt, while jerry
and al have already lost theirs, so has tony. okay, we're all expecting this one, and i think mike knows it...'idiot stare.' after that, mike says
"see you next time" or something close.
the merchandise table was lacking at this venue. i saw one guy get a jesus jones shirt, with the london cover on it. there were no black ones. and i
saw one london cd on the table. i don't know what happened, but i missed out on the black tee. boo!
afterwards, bob (hi bob!) and i are trying to get setlists off the stage. one of the guys from esion grabs jerry's (?) setlist for bob. it
miraculously lists 'half up the hill' as track 11, but did not get played, much to my dislike. i ask him if he can get us backstage...he says he'll
try. but then, the royal oak security tell us the pit area is closing, and quickly, the whole theatre does, too. i ask ted at the front door if i can
meet the band, he says come by at six tomorrow night in ann arbor. this apparently is not good enough for me, since he also had remarked to some
guy 2 minutes earlier that the ann arbor gig was cancelled. i think he was just drunk though. well, i know he was. okay, so now i walk to my rental
car and drive around the theatre's block trying to see if i can spot the joneses. after 15 minutes or an hour, i see this guy, who looks like tony
outside talking to two girls. i pull over illegally and hop out of the GETAWAY car (sorry, couldn't resist) and ask if he is indeed tony. i
introduce myself as if he cares and tell him i was hoping to meet the rest of the band. the girls there wanted to do the same as well. thanks tony,
by the way! so i walk up to the theatre backdoor, and mike and jerry are watching the van get loaded. i introduce myself to mike, who seemed to
recognize my name since i tell him i'm from magazine, and he remarks to me "i pictured you 6 inches shorter." thanks! i'm 6'2 as well, but i think i
seemed taller than mr. edwards (WHO I LIKE TO CALL THE DEVIL FOR NOT PLAYING 'HALF UP THE HILL'....yep, there's that guilt coming in, mike!) i
run to the rental car to get my london cd sleeve and mike, tony, jerry, and al all sign it. (jerry drops the cap to my sharpie and then looks
confused when i say it's mine). so i ask mike to play 'half up the hill' at the ann arbor gig. thank them for signing the cd sleeve and hop into
the GETAWAY car and try to find a hotel in sticksville, michigan. (btw, where are all the hotels in this city???) i finally find one at 4am and
then sleep until noon and make the drive to ann arbor.
The Blind Pig, Ann Arbor 8/12/01
i arrive at 6, like ted says, to meet the band. they're 5 minutes late. since i'd met them the night before, i just stand over to the side and
talk to esion and one of their member's girlfriend, who can't believe i flew 1,000 miles to see jesus jones. there was all sorts of parking
trouble going on in front of the club, and the band disappear, but i don't think the parking problems had much to do with it. so i'm waiting for bob
to show up--he's late (hi bob!). i stick around still talking to the esion posse, watching the traffic problem build. quite fun! quite cold, too!
okay, so now everyone's inside, and the door's are open. i start to walk away, and then i hear 'zeroes and ones' intro. i plant my ass outside the
door for a better listen. i got to hear sound check for 'zeroes...,' which mike flubs the lyrics to and 'nowhere slow.' i stay until i don't hear
"one two, one two" anymore. at this point, i'm freezing and hungry, not a good combination considering the lack of sleep i've had. so i go into
downtown ann arbor for a warming up and pizza sub (for the pepperoni), mountain dew (for the caffeine), and some sugar cookies (for the
sugar..duh!), so i'll have energy when jesus jones take the stage at 12:30.
i get back and walk into the bar downstairs at the blind pig since no one's waiting at the door for tickets, i'm in good shape. walk in, there's
bob! and jerry and tony are pondering one of those trivia game monitors. at least, i think it was a trivia game. there's also people from esion and
mercyside/blue mockingbirds downstairs, and i managed to coax an esion member's mom into giving me a handbill with JESUS JONES on it for
keepsake. i'm a sucker for souvenirs. i have a drink with bob and then we go back out only to see a long line. egads, i'm freaking out mentally.
don't know why. probably because i'd heard this is *the* place to play in ann arbor, so i'm thinking i won't be able to get in, but alas, i do. the
crowd at both venues was quite diverse. older people, younger people, and a few goth creatures (not sure what that's all about)#!%#$! get carded and
stamped, and viola!, i'm in. we go through the same acts as the night before, save 'face', who i guess were not invited for whatever reason.
esion take the stage at 10pm, and they really rocked, covering 'mama said knock you out' by l.l. cool j. here's some info on the venue.
small bar with a stage. dancefloor the size of a peanut. the stage was small, and i was thankful iain wasn't there to inflict harm on himself or
the other band members. i had attempted to record the show on my MD in case they play 'half up the hill,' but it fails on me, the stupid piece of
shit! (hi mike!) so i'm downstairs taking a piss (did you really need to know that?) and i'm taking a breather in the hallway downstairs and mike
comes down the stairs intending to use the bathroom (btw, hope you didn't step in that vomit, mike...not mine in case you did). he comes out and i
hear 'mike! i'm elaine's friend..." i'm thinking "what?" to myself. and this girl is taking a pic with mike. so i ask if i can get one while he's
there). i ask mike about 'half up the hill,' and he says it hasn't been going over well with the crowd and it's likely not to get played. i'm
still hoping though. okay, so pics are over, mike has to get upstairs as the band are getting ready to go on. i start talking to the elaine-friend
girl, who turns out to be cara (sp?), the webmaster of emf-theband.com. she's really nice. and we talk for a while. it's her first time seeing the
band, so she's stoked. okay, back upstairs i run (meanwhile, my MD is laughing at me 'cos it knows it's not about to record what i was about to
they take the stage, and it's nothing but problems for them. during message, mike screams out "we need keyboards," followed by "we still need
keyboards!" after chorus #2. it seems darren the DAT is not going to cooperate tonight. they attempt to fix darren between songs. darrens
delivers on 'move mountains,' but still seems to be off by a hair. no biggie. it made the show a lot more personal as the banter between mike
and the crowd went over well. i seem to recall "that's okay, you guys are great..." then "this is 'international bright young thing.' the setlist
stays the same as the night before: stranger, rocket ships, real x3. next was 'just so you know, this song was written is june....'in the face of
all of this.' then, "this next song is dedicated to the people who have traveled hours to get to the show. (i think i qualify, as do bob and cara
and cara's boyfriend.) darren keeps giving the band small troubles, al knocks over his mic stand, and the camera guy stands in front of me for at
least 20 minutes. arrrgh! setlist continues: nowhere slow, to get there, info freako, zeroes (much harder than the previous night, i think mainly
due to darren), who?where?why?. finally, "we usually leave the stage now and hope for an encore, but since some people have traveled long hours to
get here, we're not going to go away without playing what they want to hear, so if you want us to get off stage, tough shit!" no problems from
my end. and they launch into 'idiot stare.' and mike says "see you next time." the crowd seemed to be really into the show and wanted more after
it was over. both venues had maybe 100 people tops, but the second night the venue was much more intense since we were crammed into a small bar.
after the show, i'm waiting with bob. spot tony, who waves. i see cara with a setlist, so i ask one of the staff if i can snag al's setlist.
after convincing him i was a jesus jones fan (hello, flew in 1000 miles to be there!?!?!) he grabs al's setlist for me. so i'm waiting still, and
then the band start disassembling their equipment. i tell mike to promise he'll write into magazine when he gets back. i ask him about yoshi and the
greatest hits album, which i'll let him tell you about (IF HE EVER WRITES BACK IN AGAIN!). he signs my setlist, and i leave making the trek back to
detroit for an early flight a few hours later.
so there, that's my jesus jones concert experience. i had a blast. i'm broke, but i'd do it again in a heartbeat. if mike and tony read this,
thanks guy. both shows were awesome, even though darren had a mind of his own. okay, now i've just written way too much, but both shows were something i'll never forget. and meeting mike and the others wasn't too shabby either. thanks guys.
my hands hurt now, time to go...and the simpsons is on, too =]
b r y a n s y k e s
Ann Arbor 8/12/01
(Click on pics for larger versions)
I waited 10 years... drove 165 miles... brought my excellent new camera and all my excitement... to the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This was
actually my first Jesus Jones concert, something I thought would NEVER happen.
It hadn't actually hit me until about 30 minutes before the doors were supposed to open (9:30, ugh!). I had made the journey with my friend Ryan
and his friend Jay, and we listened to Jesus Jones in the car most of the way up. What would they play? Would we get to meet them? WOW! So much
to look forward to.
After killing some time before the gig, we decided to go back to the club about 9:15 and wait in line. We were actually not the first ones in line
either, and by the time they actually opened the damn doors (like 20 minutes late, and it was cold) the line has stretched around the block. I
kept hoping to catch a glimpse of Mike inside, so boy was I surprised as I stood there talking to Ryan and I saw his face totally drop. I turned
around to see the man of the hour, Mr. Edwards himself, trying to get into the club. He was dressed in a green jacket with a big backpack on his
back. He was so beautiful I couldn't even breathe. So much taller than I expected, and so... normal. The security opened the door to let him come
So with that out of the way, we waited some more. When they finally let us in, the three of us made our way over to some stools and sat until the
opened band came on. Looking around, I saw Tony, the new drummer chatting with some people.
Right after the first band came on (called Esion, and really awesome!) who should come over and hang out next
to me but Jerry!! I had met Jerry 6 months earlier in London at the EMF reunion show, but I was still in awe and chickened out of talking to him until
later on in the evening. Looking over to my left, I saw Mike hanging out about 20 yards away. Of course I HAD to meet him. So after Esion went
off stage, Ryan and I attempted to approach him but he scurried off to do something. Damn! But I was determined to meet him no matter what.
We suffered through the next 2 bands, walking around the club trying to find the Jones boys. Up first was Jerry. I stopped him to say hello and
he said he remembered me from the June party. He was SO sweet, and so I got a picture with him and also a guitar pick, which I now wear around my
neck. Jerry also has really cool hair!
It was about time for the main attraction to come on stage, and still no Mike. Ryan and I went downstairs one last time to see if we could get
lucky, but it looked like we might get shut out. I was turning around to go back upstairs when who should come walking past in a bit of a hurry but
MIKE! I stopped him as fast as I could, and we talked to him for about 5 minutes, got pictures, etc. We told him how far we had come, and he was
impressed. He was amazingly nice, polite and everything I had hoped and heard he'd be. Not to mention physically perfect. ;) Now the night was
Now onto the show. The band roared through an hour long set, managing to escape too many technical problems with the DAT samples. The first 2
songs were missing a little... and Mike kept saying "We'd really like some keyboards." But they eventually fixed the issue and continued on. It was
really a shame not having Iain around.
I had the best spot in the room. 5 feet in front from Mike!
The guys seemed to be top form. Tony is a fantastic drummer and I can't imagine not having him around now. Jerry's strap kept coming off but he
took it in stride, fixed it and kept rocking. Al was just incredible. I did not recognize him at all (totally bald, big tattoos and a goatee)
before I saw him come on stage, but once he got on stage, I could not take my eyes off of him. He had so much energy and was very, very sexy,
especially during my current fave new song, "Half Up The Hill". =) And Mike, well, what is there to say? He has such presence and he knows how
to work a crowd.
They did a lot of songs from their current release, but did a lot of old favorites including all their huge hits from Doubt. The crowd was small,
I'd say only about 100-150 total. Mike dedicated "Right Here, Right Now" to all the fans who had travelled great lengths to get to the show, seeing
as how probably 50% of the crowd were not local natives.
The final 2 songs, "Who? Where? Why?" and "Idiot Stare" were rocking. The whole place got pogoing to W?W?W?, which was supposed to be the
closer. The encore was to be IS, but Mike said, "Normally we'd go off and come back for an encore, but we don't want anyone who came so far to miss
any of our songs, so we're going to do it now." It was a really great enthusiastic crowd all night long. True fans!
After the close of the show, I was sure to grab a setlist (Mike's!) and a flyer from outside. I have my pictures and all my memories. It was worth
the 10 year wait, but hopefully I won't have to wait that long to see them again.
Cara De Carlo check out her gig pics here.
New York, New York...29/11 and 1/12
Well hmmm where would i begin?? i was at 2 of the three shows in the ny area..first night they opened at the limelight located in midtown
manhattan--the boys went the fuck off!!! once again it was a pleasure to see one of my all time favorite bands rippin the shit out of old and new
material alike....now,ive seen jj play many of times in venues all along the east coast and by far the boys were hittin every note in sync(except
for mikes little slip on the info freako track)ha ha unfortunately my all time fav member of the band (iain) was home in the uk and his energy
jumpin frantically across the stage was very missed!! tony was keepin up and is a rad drummer....al (minus the dreads) was trippin out and ampin
out as jerry was tight as always...mike in true form as always!!! after the show we got to chat with all the guys who were visibly tired from all
there partying here in the big apple....a killer night!!!
Missed the bard college gig--but made the roadtrip up to kingston which is a tiny little college town right outside the famous woodstock. me and my friend val (also a massive jesus freak) made the drive up from long island and got lost a few times in the woods up there but found our way to the west strand grill where all the boys from the
blue mockingbirds and jesus jones were sittin down to dinner before the gig....so we hung around a bit and talked to tony a lot who is the nicest
guy you will meet--very friendly and he wa stoked we made the trip up to see em all...jerry and al also hung a bit and chatted what was goin on with the tour and stuff. mike was missin in action tryin to coordinate equipment before the show of course. so i have to give credit out to ted mason and his blue mockingbirds who by far played tight sets both nights and the reason why jj are on the road now.....once again i was stunned how the boys hadnt lost a step in as many of years since they were around--low
ceilings prevented them from there famous energetic leaps durin there faster pace songs like ibyt and idiot stare which ends there set...all in all the boys again hung out after the show and talked with all the fans that were interested in chattin em up....tried to make a bootleg--but unfortunatel sounds like hell--ha ha...a shame considering how awesome it was.....now im just waitin on the dates for there greatest hits tour and hopefully make it to the uk --eat some chips on berwick with iain and do
some cd shopping with tony!!! thanks to all the guys for bringin some adrenaline into my life for a few nights!!! well im boltin for now.
New York Again....1/12
I guess drinking 5 cans of Red Bull doesn't let one sleep much.... (Based loosely on notes I scribbled throughout the night.)
My friends and I got to Kingston around 5.30 or so. The place isn't all that big, about 3 main streets as far as I could tell. We checked in at the West Strand Grill and then got some food. We got back around 8.30 and got downstairs around 9.15 or so. The place is very cool, so I thought. It's an old converted church, with arched windows and the main bar at the front upstairs has the altar for the backdrop. The gig was downstairs in a room, oh I dunno, about 40' x 40' - quite small. We got there early
enough and snagged a table about 10 feet from the stage, which was only about a foot or so high. Some guy in a suit with a briefcase looked very pissed
at me because I was sitting there... I dunno if we took "his spot" or what but f&%$ him, we drove 3 hours to get there. Another interesting character was a lady sitting up close. She had white hair, a dog collar, and a tattoo and she totally got into JJ. (I later found out it was Val Maione, longtime JJ fan :> )
Anyway, I went over to buy some Tshirts and talked with Andrew from Mi5 who was manning the merchandise table. He noticed me because of my
very-old-school Liquidizer-era purple and beige JJ shirt. I had a really nice chat with him and gave him a can of Red Bull I brought for Mike
that I wrote "Have a great show!" on or something like that. We talked about a bunch of stuff, the tour, loving JJ to death, etc. He said that Ted and
Mi5 are committed to JJ for the long run and how happy that would make everyone on Magazine. He and Tony are subbed on here too as well - cheers guys! :)
So then the Blue Mockingbirds came on and played 8 or 9 songs, including "Melt With You" which made everyone nuts. Ted had everyone sing the
humming bridge and he played a guitar solo over it and thought it was incredibly cool. They played a pretty bang-up set I thought, and a lot
of the kids there were into it. There were, I'd say maybe 150 people? I wasn't paying much attention to numbers when JJ came on, but the place seemed pretty full...
About this time my nervous twitching set in as I realized that Mike and Jerry and Al and Tony were going to be about *five feet* away from me
and that one of my most cherished desires was about to be fulfilled.
After about a ten-minute set change JJ came on. Andy <lordpixel> was right - Mike is quite the rail, but still the standard by which I measure handsomeness :) Anyway, here I'll switch to a song-by-song account, reading directly off my left forearm, which is covered in purple sharpie ink.
Tore right into this one. I was still sitting at my table at this point, no one was in front of me and I didn't want to block anyone's view. And I was so weak in the knees I'm pretty sure I would have collapsed.
2. Move Mountains
Still sitting in my chair, screaming my lungs out. Still in disbelief.
Mike joked about tuning somewhere in here, saying "the only standard of professionalism" or something...
3. International Bright Young Thing
OK now I got up and started dancing around because this song has been played at almost all momentous occasions in my life. The crowd seemed into it by now.
Totally rocked. Don't know what else to say.
At some point Mike explained the debacle with Iain and the keyboards and said "we've replaced the both of them with a DAT recorder about that <makes square with hands> big."
5. Rocket Ships of La Jolla
Mike said this was his favorite song off the new album. Rocked, as expected.
6. Real, Real, Real,
Introduced as "I think this was a something of a hit over here a long time ago." I think playing this with just straight guitars totally rips the roof off more than the sampled
7. In The Face Of All Of This
Introduced with "Before you think we're jumping on the bandwagon with planes and Afghanistan, let me tell you this song was written in June." At this point I just knelt down on the floor and wished I had a lighter to wave. I think I started crying around this point, because of my aforementioned affinity for this song. Mike, if you saw the chick in the purple JJ shirt and beret kneeling and crying, it was me :)
8. Right Here, Right Now
I thought it was brilliant playing this back to back with Face.Introduced with "I think this was a hit sometime ago as well." Now I was just standing and screaming and flat-out bawling. A lot of stuff I'd been through in the last few months just kinda came out as I was listening to my favorite song in the world, by my favorite band in the world, LIVE FIVE FEET IN FRONT OF ME. I pretty much lost it. Thought it was cool that it had the album samples in the beginning - I think it threw people a little that didn't immediately recognize it.
I think somewhere around here, Mike looked worried and asked Al what was wrong. "He's swearing loudly on stage. Al, what's wrong? We have to wait
until it's okay to play the next song."
9. Nowhere Slow
Totally rocked. I think I was getting quite hoarse by this point. Mike's voice sounded absolutely awesome, particularly during the quiet chorus in this one.
10. To Get There
"Writte for ESPN." This is one of my favorite songs on London. Absolutely great.
11. Half Up The Hill
Total rocker. Mike was jumping around and guitar flailing and all that... it looked like everyone was having an absolute grand time. I'm pretty sure Al was shirtless by this point. Mike subbed in "FOR NOT MUCH BASS... see inside!" and pointed to Jerry. Again, Mike's voice came out beautifully at the end.
12. Info Freako
"This was our first single." I think Mike also said something about the lack of volume on the keyboard samples here... I do remember it being hard to hear vocals on this one, but rocked nonetheless.
13. Zeroes and Ones
"This was off of Perverse which was 'cutting-edge' but the lyrics seem almost embarassing now, so kindly just look the other way." Again, same deal as Rx3 - playing with guitars instead of samples blew this one apart.
"More keyboards! Please! What do we have to do to get more keyboards?!" Seemed to me Mike was a bit irritated by this point... this song, however, was still excellent.
15. Idiot Stare
"Well at this point we would normally walk off stage and wait to be called back. But, the only place we have to walk to is that 3x3 broom closet here, so we're going to play our encore now." This was fantastic. I was totally hoarse by now. They finished and walked off the stage while the final samples were
So afterwards I talked to Andrew again (he was totally hoarse as well) and hung out upstairs hoping to catch the band. Finally I saw Andy and he
said that Mike and Al and Jerry already left, but that Tony was still downstairs and he could take me down to meet him. Apparently, Mike and
Al and Jerry all jetted right after the show before Andrew could catch them, and Tony said Mike was irked about something (?). They were all leaving
for Chicago in the morning and were exhausted. Anyway Tony was really nice and I congratulated him and the band on a fantastic show. He signed my
copy of London (the cover - I didn't risk bringing the CD in) and gave me a kiss on the cheek *blush* :) I thanked him and Andy as well for
chatting with me and for getting me down to meet Tony. And thanks to you yet again! :)
Then I piled into the car about 2.30 for the long drive home.
Mike, Jerry, Al, and last but certainly not least of all Tony, thank you for the greatest night of my life so far -- until the tour comes back inthe spring!!! ('Twas hinted at that there will be a tour in the spring with the EMI greatest hits album -- fingers crossed!)
So there's my review -- sorry it gets mushy and personal at times. I also took a roll of pictures that I will get developed and posted online hopefully within the next week or two. Also heard supposedly the Limelight gig was videotaped and whatnot and there's something of a multimedia project in the works... I hope I'm not divulging too much info here but I am totally thrilled :)
If I remember anything else I'll write in... if you can possily get to a show, GO! I realized just how much I had missed out on in the past and how thankful I was to be at that show, quals and school and everything else be damned and that last line from To Get There echoes in my head:
"Did the time slip by when I looked the other way Think of tomorrow when I should be thinking of today..."