Sunday, 10 August 2014

The Jim Jones Revue triumph in Gijon, Spain 9/8/2014

© D. Mainwood

The Jim Jones Revue crashed into Gijon, Spain last night just as the side effects of Hurricane Bertha were supposed to be hitting the UK. Seems like a fair exchange. They are not so much a band as an elemental force of nature and they managed to convert - possibly too late as the band are splitting in October - an initially indifferent crowd of two or three thousand (most of whom, as the gig was free, would never have heard of them and were just there to gawk) to their own firebrand version of rabid rock'n'roll fundamentalism.

Photo of the gig from the band's facebook page.
Click to enlarge
The gig was in Gijon's Town Hall Square. As I have mentioned elsewhere, it is not one of the best of places to play as it's a small square surrounded on all four sides by concrete and brick - mostly offices, restaurants and flats. Yes people actually live right next door and I expect they spent this morning repairing the windows, replacing the crockery and checking the walls and ceilings for cracks and sonic damage. Anyway, the crap sound you get usually in a place like that was rendered null and void by a band that actually thrives on distortion, echo and sonic mud. They overcame, they soared and they conquered.

The gig was a triumph. And intense. We are in the same stripped down to basics territory as the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion here. Super amplified 50s rock - as the Guardian's Michael Hann said, "The Jim Jones Revue imagine that rock'n'roll didn't really need to evolve after 1956; it just needed to get much, much louder, and wildly more distorted". So loud was it that, as I was close to the front of the stage, the impact of the sound was something you could physically feel. It actually felt like my chest was being pressed on and dug into. Fortunately however, rampant tachycardia soon instigated free-fall euphoria.

On stage the band recall some of my faves like the The MC5, The Stooges, The Who and Wilko Johnson era Dr Feelgood. Jim Jones (ex lead singer of 1980s psychsters Thee Hypnotics and Black Moses) is an authoritative frontman who often brings to mind Jagger and the 1968 leather clad Elvis. He easily won the crowd over on what could have been a difficult gig. Many people would just have been passing through the square - Gijon is having its "Semana Grande" - a week of town festivities and everyone is on the street - however most stayed and were transfixed and enthused by a gig that started off intense and just kept building until, by the time of the Eddie Cochran / Jerry Lee Lewis inspired encores, we were attaining hitherto unknown communal levels of musical rapture.

What a shame the band are calling it a day in October.

See them while you can.

Band page and farewell tour dates

The Jim Jones Review in Gijon
Jim Jones: Vocals / Guitar
Rupert Orton: Guitar
Gavin Jay: Bass
Nick Jones: Drums
Henri Herbert: Piano

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Friday, 8 August 2014

Asturian Jazz: The Xaime Arias Trio at the Alambique, Gijon, Spain 7/8/2014

Here's a heads-up for a great band I saw last night at the Cafe Alambique in Gijon in the north of Spain.

The Xaime Arias Trio (Xaime is pronounced "shymi") are a local latin jazz trio who really deserve some wider recognition. They've been gigging locally here in the northern region of Asturias, Spain for a few years now and have even recorded an album. Xaime Arias plays very melodic keyboards, broad in range and somewhat influenced by the melodies to be heard in traditional Asturian folk music. He takes the Asturian influence and adds some blues and funk to create a very home grown kind of Asturian jazz. He is aided by Oscar Santos:on bass and the excellent Leonel Duarte on drums. 

The numbers tend to build slowly and drummer Duarte builds the tension locking into Arias' solos and creating a very funkified groove. It's loose and free but with Santos' bass keeping the band on course they can really lift off into some quite intense flights of percussive and dance oriented jazz improv. A kind of Latin Jazz power trio.

The 4 year-old clip below doesn't really do the band justice now but it's the only thing I could find by them on Youtube. The band (and we) deserve more. 

Very recommended. 


Here are some photos of the gig that I took with my phone.


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Friday, 1 August 2014

Brenda Holloway / The Night Beats at the Euroyeye Festival, Gijon, Spain 31/7/2014

The 20th Euro Ye-yé festival is taking place in the city of Gijon in the north of Spain this weekend. It's a 4 day festival of 1960s style and music - especially all things Mod, Beat, Garage, Psych and Soul. There are bands, films, all-nighters and even a march of the mods scooter parade through town. It's a week-end long celebration 60s cool.

60s Motown star and Northern Soul favourite Brenda Holloway kicked things off last night with a free concert in the Town Hall Square in the center of Gijon. It was a very short (35 minutes) set that included her old hits "Every Little Bit Hurts", "When I'm Gone", and "You've Made Me So Very Happy". To be honest, the Town Hall Square is not the best place to see any band as the sound is truly awful. The square is surrounded by buildings of concrete and brick on all four sides and the sound just bounces around all over the place and is invariably echoey, shrill and distorted. And every year the local council puts gigs on there. Work that one out. Anyway, despite all that she managed to put in a surprisingly energetic and enthusiastic performance with a local pick-up band as support and her voice, even at the age of 68, is still in fine form with a more overtly gospel influence in evidence nowadays.

A short set but one that left everyone wanting more.

The Night Beats are a Seattle psych garage rock band with two albums already under their belts. Playing at the Sala Acapulco venue - a nice smallish sized gig with usually pretty good sound - the band tore through a powerful 60 minute set that finished around 2 in the morning. Primitive, raunchy and shambolic (in a good way). I thoroughly enjoyed them.

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