Jug Jaw’s Beat Club at Bedfords Crypt, with Vegas Fame Index, The Rumble, Lank Smith & the Pythons. 20 February 2014. Review and photos.
After last month’s absolutely stunning night at The Crypt for Jug Jaw’s Beat Club I was massively excited and looking forward to this one but also wondering how it could possibly match that event. They did it though, Chris and Steph put on another incredible beat club night that will live long in the memory.
On a night when once again there were a whole host of gigs going on in the city and many I’d like to have attended too if possible, The Crypt was already packed by about quarter past eight. Lank Smith & the Pythons were outstanding when I saw them in January and any thoughts of the same set were instantly banished when Chris introduced the band and the club ethos to the audience as they launched into a bluesy, gospelly and rocky Too Much Monkey Business, and an energetic version of Money. These guys are brilliant, there is no question about it. Fantastic musicianship, great chemistry, energy, enthusiasm and voices. The sense of fun and enjoyment flows from the stage area and back again from the audience. These songs blasted out through analogue equipment just somehow makes it more exciting, primal, and visceral. I just could not stop smiling throughout. Being the house band they only played four or five songs before making way for The Rumble, but boy, do I love what they do! Clearly they do too, it’s fantastic to watch a band so obviously having fun and performing for all the right reasons – one can feel it is full of integrity, soul, and comes straight from the heart.
A short break of fifteen minutes or so for some sixties and seventies rock whilst the stage area was cleared and it was soon time for Chris to introduce The Rumble. A mightily powerful trio, in a setting where none of the equipment was post-1967 this band featured not one member older than 17. The drumming was loud, spot on and extremely good and the songs had a rawness but also an energy and melodic side that had me thinking a bit of how it must have felt to see for the first time bands like The Buzzcocks or The Undertones in their early days. It’s a sort of scratchy, raw and brilliant power pop that is filled with a great energy. They probably pushed the equipment to its absolute limits but that only made it all the more exciting. Superb stuff.
The evening was such fun it was passing all too quickly and when Vegas Fame Index came onstage the fun just continued. I’d never seen or heard these guys before but enjoyed them very much. Highly charismatic presence with great songs in a bit of a US garage band vein, they played some excellent melodic rock and the absolutely packed Crypt audience loved them. The crowd begged for, and got, an encore where the band’s sound through the analogue amplifiers and speakers filled the venue in a huge way I am not sure I could have imagined was possible, it was utterly superb.
I was on a but of a musical high from these bands that was rather difficult to come down from, and enjoyed chatting in this lovely venue with some friends to a background of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, which just seemed perfect. Thanks to Jug Jaw’s Beat Club, and the bands, and all at Bedfords for a really successful night once again. Jug Jaw’s Beat Club have tapped into something special and I am filled with the utmost respect for what they are doing and how they are doing it. Of course the bands and musicians are top notch and stunning, but something about hearing it all in this way, in this environment and with all the positive energy around makes it somehow all the more special. It’s a bit difficult to put into words, but hearing and being part of music in this way feels so real, primal, and re-ignites that youthful passionate enthusiasm of hearing great music. All in a fantastic venue too, it seems much of the brilliant Norwich music is literally happening underground! Stepping down into the Crypt is in itself like walking down into a steamy subterranean beat club steeped in rock history, which of course is exactly what it is.
On February 20th in the bowels of Bedfords Crypt, an incredible 13th century basement Crypt (only rediscovered in 1965 when the owner fell through a bricked up doorway) we have for you an all star bill of the East’s most admired garage blues rock n’rollers.
Placing them in a hedonistic beat environment as it would have been in 1967, every detail will be catered for. Cutting edge technology in the form of a ‘Shure Vocal Master Announcement system’ from 1967 will amplify our singers, accompanied by real tape echo units and spring reverb tanks. The stage will be completed with an array of the rarest vintage valve amplifiers, a gold sparkle Del Rey drum set, column speakers, vintage stage lights, persian rugs and beat decor. A truly unique experience. Phaw.
First on we have resident anglo-american house band LANK SMITH & THE PYTHONS. Making their stage debut at Jug Jaw’s grand opening the band consists of members of internationally acclaimed KILL IT KID and sad-core-fun-pop troubadours HELLO BEAR. They will host the night performing a selection of hit parade and garage rarities.
Next we have The Rumble. A soulful power trio earning respect across the county for their raw and honest live performance. Drawing on influences as established as Led Zeppelin, The Black Keys and Little Barry they will be ones to watch.
Topping the bill we have the magnificent Vegas Fame Index. Their sound has it’s foundations in the dark carnival that is LA’s garage rock scene. However with their meticulously crafted songs, they approach the genre with an entirely British lyrical sobriety. WIth nationwide acclaim for their live performance…they are not to be missed. For fans of BRMC and Arctic Monkey’s alike.
£5 on the door, £3 for students. Doors 8pm. We need you to make this special, a good audience is just as important as the acts themselves. Please tell your friends and come and support local live music.
words and photos, richard shashamane 2014