The Jim Jones Revue, John J Presley – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds – 29/09/14

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This was the last ever Jim Jones Revue gig in the north of England and what a night it was! Can’t believe the energy they put into their shows, night after night. A real tour de force. I didn’t think they were going to stop with 2 extended encores……. I hung around after the show to see if I could get my LP signed (the nice bloke at the T-Shirt stand had kept it safe for me whilst I jumped about). I bought it at last years Newcastle gig and had had it signed by Henri and Gav, but not the others. It was then I bumped into Phil, a pal from Newcastle who, it turned out was also at the gig up there on Saturday. We had a great chat with Drummer Nick, who also signed some of his busted sticks for us and got the rest of the band to scrawl on the LP………”don’t suppose you’d want to write this one up Phil?”…….

JJR2Danny and the Juniors famously sang that “Rock n Roll would never die”. With the Mighty JJR bidding farewell to Leeds on Monday night, it may have done just that.

According to Wikipedia JJR had been active since 2004. I find that hard to believe because you can’t keep something this loud, so quiet for so long. My first exposure came on a cold and dreary Sunday night many at the Cluny (Newcastle) circa 2008. There was no more than 70 people there and most of us were sober with the working week stretching out ahead of us. The signs were not promising. What we witnessed that night however was not only an example of musical excellence but an education in unfaltering self belief. From the first chord struck with venom to the last finger pounding key, they thrashed, sneered, swaggered and growled their way through a set so tight it assaulted every sense and literally made the heart sing.

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Since those early days, the intensity and sheer passion has not faded. Verging between manic and almost out of control, they fight for attention on stage, posturing, pouting and punching their way through each set. JJR don’t just lift the spirit they take it by the throat and shake the living daylights out of it. The Brudenell was no exception. What started as something of a mournful crowd was whipped up within minutes as Rock n Roll Psychosis took hold. This was no sad lament. A wake not a funeral. A 12 bar blitzkrieg with wave after wave of unrelenting heart thumping, foot tapping, hand clapping, head shaking mayhem….God I loved this band! 

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All the classics were played with the same energy and arrogance as ever, High Horse, The Princess and the Frog, Cement Mixer, Elemental, the list goes on. The pace and passion never dropped….this band truly were a “force of nature”.

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Detractors who claim they did nothing new and were limited in their range simply missed the point. JJR were entertainers pure and simple and they did it so, so much better than anyone else. In a world filled with manufactured pop pap, JJR were a breath of fresh air. That raw energy could never translate on to record and they were never going to break into the mainstream. Not the first and they won’t be the last, but an exceptional talent who created memories that will stay with us long after the one hit wonders have faded.

It’s hard to see what will fill that void at present, but if Rock’n’Roll did die on 29th September 2014 – it went down fighting

– Phil D

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