Jim Jones Revue

If you are not familiar with them, The Jim Jones Revue are a no-frills garage band who have been around since 2008. They are a very hard-working live band and it is good to see them in Wolverhampton.

JJ Presley

It’s great to go to a gig where both the support acts are really worth seeing, so it is a shame that not many people have turned up at this early point in the evening. The first support tonight comes from John J Presley and his band, from Birmingham. The band doesn’t have much room on the small stage at The Slade Rooms, with the evening’s equipment for three bands set up behind them. Presley looks and sounds a little like Kurt Cobain, but his distinctive voice is more distorted and with a growl – slightly Tom Waits-ish. There are quite a good few ideas here and a bit of subtlety, with the band even including a cello player. The band produces some moody, guttural blues, with distorted guitar.

Y Niwl_

Second up are Y Niwl. They are a four-piece band from Wales. According to Wikipedia (so don’t blame me if it is wrong) Y Niwl means ‘the fog’. I really wasn’t expecting this sound – a band that plays instrumentals with twangy guitars!. The sound seems to be based on 1960s surf music, Duane Eddy and the Shadows.

Y Niwl, Wolverhampton

And, boy, do they sound good! I suppose eventually there had to be a revival of this style of music. Although the style is inevitably familiar (at least to anyone over 50!), Y Niwl put a whole new slant on it and it sounds very fresh. It certainly goes very down well with the audience and the band shift a few copies of their CD (and some vinyl LPs) of their album (a Sunday Times album of the week in 2011!) at the end of their performance.

Jim Jones Revue

Then the main act. The Jim Jones Revue are a sort of combination of an early rock and roll act with a punk band. They have a Jerry Lee Lewis piano style and they also perform some rock and roll numbers Little Richard’s Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey. The spirit of raucous bands like The Birthday Party, The Cramps and the MC5 are also present here. Tonight they also name check Jeffrey Lee Pierce of The Gun Club and do a version of his Ain’t My Problem Baby. Jim decries much of the other music from the 1980s (which he says ruined his teenage years!). Their style is really the antithesis of smooth 1980s synthesizer music and big haircuts (The Revue have greased back rock and roll haircuts, which eventually unravel in a floppy mass with all the rocking goin’ on in the evening’s show).

Jim Jones Revue

The band have been much championed by DJ Marc Riley on Radio 6, for whom they have done a few sessions. They are also becoming known through the sheer hard work of gigging. While the band have two proper albums (and a compilations disc), they really are foremost a live act that you just have to see. And it is certainly appropriate that they play the Slade Rooms, because Jim’s powerful ear-shredding voice is very like Noddy Holder’s.

Jim Jones Revue

Live, they are about as ‘full-on’ as any band can be. They are a sonic attack – but with good tunes and musicianship – from start to finish. The band adopt a frenzy of rock and roll poses, thrashing around the small stage and not keeping still for one moment. Jim frantically points and gestures at the audience and has them singing along, at times standing balanced with a foot on the stage and a foot on the crowd barrier. However, it is all genuine manic energy and not in any way hollow posturing.

Jim Jones Revue

Tonight’s show is mainly a trip through their two albums, the eponymous first album and their second album, the attractively named Burning Your House Down. The highlight for me was Cement Mixer, from the first album. Any song with the title Cement Mixer is bound to be good, I would argue, but this song really does what it says on the tin and is churning rock and roll!

Set list: 512; Rock’n’ Roll Psychosis; Where Da Money Go; Burning Your House Down; Shoot First; Back Jam; Another Daze; High Horse; Cement Mixer; Rompa Stompa; Chain Gang; Righteous Wrong; 7 Times Round the Sun; It’s Got to be about Me; Who’s Got Mine; Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey; Dishonest John; Ain’t My Problem Baby; Elemental; Princess and the Frog.

Photos and Review by John Bentley

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