The Jim Jones Revuew, live at OPEN, Norwich, 3 October 2014. Words and photos by shashamane, photos not to be used without permission.
Sometimes one goes to a gig so good that seeing the same band again can lead to levels of excitement and expectation so unrealistic there is a danger of anti-climax. This was not the case with this band. I’m not quite sure how but I had never seen the Jim Jones Revue until our paths crossed during the splendid Red Rooster Festival in June where I went to watch them more out of curiosity than any sense of expectation through reputation or word of mouth. They were introduced to the stage with the announcement of “Please welcome Britain’s best live rock and roll band, Jim Jones Revue!” Two songs later I was in no doubt about the accuracy of this statement and was trying to edge myself closer and closer to the stage, where many people of a similar age and plenty much younger had done the same.
They quite simply blew me away with their manner, volume, posturing, songs, delivery and most of all a sort of amalgamation of all the best elements of rock’n’roll history. I was picking out bits of the The Stooges, MC5, The Clash, Led Zeppelin, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, blues, rock and punk and this all made up the glorious rock monster that is this band, full of killer riffs and power chords. It is in no way cheesy, it’s earthy, gutsy, visceral and bloody great fun, more than I could ever have imagined. So to learn that they were rolling into Norwich on their “Last Hurrah Tour” for their penultimate ever gig I had no hesitation in getting myself a ticket and persuading anyone who’d listen to do the same. I was clearly not alone in this as the initial staging of the gig in the club room was sold out and so it was moved to the much larger main hall, which I believe also sold out.
I suppose a part of me would have loved to have experienced this gig in the more intimate club room with the atmosphere and superior sound and acoustics that lower ceiling seems to give and the way gigs in there have a really special feel but I also wanted to experience them in the larger room with a big and enthusiastic audience and the huge stage a band like this deserves and the big room does look absolutely fantastic and grand. Tonight’s gig was a late start so I had a pre-gig drink at the beautiful Bedfords Bar – this was to be the calm before the rock ‘n’ roll storm to come!
There was not the slightest hint of anti-climax about the gig. The band sounded immense, were having a ball – and so were the audience – and we were treated to a fantastic set, a couple of encores, many crowd favourites and even a cover of Chinese Rocks. It was an awesome gig, they sound good, look terrific and know how to look mean and pull a rock pose, a photographer’s delight to snap. I loved it, this was a tremendous show and they excited me in a way that this type of rock music has not done for quite some time. Fantastic, and right up there alongside some of the very best live acts I have ever seen.
It was something of a homecoming gig for Rupert Orton and it was fitting their penultimate gig was such a memorable one in his home city. Their final gig the following night at London’s Forum was, I believe, recorded for the band’s first live album, which will be something to treasure, just like the memory of this incredible gig. At the end they symbolically stood together, facing the crowd, with guitars held aloft. Hopefully, a number of other great bands will arise from the ashes of the comet that was Jim Jones Revue.
There was also a rather cool after-party with plenty of swing dancing, which is probably just what the doctor ordered for our ringing ears! Of course I stayed out way too late again ahead of a full day of events for the Oxjam Festival. More about that soon …
I live recording of the band’s final gig, the following day at The Forum in London has already been made available. http://abbeyroadlive.sandbag.uk.com/Store/DisplayArtist.html?CatID=5669
words and photos, richard shashamane 2014 all rights reserved. Photos not to be used without permission.