Friday, June 17, 2011

Jim Jones Revue / Lewis Floyd Henry @ Birmingham Academy, Thursday 16th June 2011

I first bumped into Lewis Floyd Henry (almost literally) at the Big Chill Festival a couple of years back. He was just sitting by a lake playing his particular brand of fuzzed up blues/rock/punk through a battered old speaker that he wheeled around with him on some pushchair wheels. It was one of those happy festival accidents that ends up being a highlight and, watching him again tonight (still as gloriously raw and ramshackle in the more clinical surroundings of the Academy) was just as enjoyable. Perched in front of a munchkin sized set of foot operated drums he kicked off with a blistering track called Good News, channelling the spirits of ancient blues and rock greats together with a little punk spunk mixed in for good measure. Thrashing the living hell out of his guitar and battling to keep his crackly 30w speaker in check he blasted through half a dozen or so songs like a man with his ass on fire, comparisons with Hendrix reinforced by some nifty dentally enhanced guitar playing. Ending the set in true rock n’roll style he kicked over the munchkin drums and tipped over his pram speaker before ambling off to rapturous applause. Hell yeah! Let me hear you say “Hell yeah”...go on...louder...that’s better. Now go and shout “Hell yeah” at your boss (I know you read this shit at work), pack your job in, buy a bottle of Jack and learn to play the blues. It’s what Lewis would want.

I’ve seen Jim Jones Revue described as one of the best live rock n’roll bands in the world right now so my expectations were set pretty high. Okay...real high. In fact short of Elvis making a comeback and dry humping Little Richard whilst Jerry Lee whacks off merrily in his face I was almost prepared to be a little disappointed. Relax, we’re in safe hands here though. These dudes know what they’re doing. With a 20 plus year career in the biz Jim Jones (of cult late 80’s / early 90’s garage psych band Thee Hypnotics) has been around the block a few times and, happily, it shows. From the voice, a good golly miss molly style primal howl, to the stage moves, part Jagger, part Elvis, part dog on heat, Jim Jones is pure rock n’roll. It’s far from a one man show though, this is a band of equals with each member of the band more than pulling their weight (respect in particular due to the keyboard player...ya gotta love that boogie woogie piano). As you’d expect the material plugs straight into the veins of classic rock n’roll. Whilst most of it’s self penned an early in the set cover of Little Richard’s Hey Hey Hey Hey (which namechecks Birmingham of course...albeit the Alabama version) went down a storm, giving something for the true old school rockers to sing along with. With the crowd suitably warmed up (oh...alright then...moist), JJR plundered both their albums for the good shit, Rock n’ Roll Psychosis, Burning Down Your House (cue muchos groin thrusting and mic shagging from JJ), Cement Mixer...sweat dripped, ears bled and booty was shook. “We’re gonna make things mellow now” drawled Jim, before launching into Killin’ Spree, a frantic boogie woogie orgy with guitar string melting solos and a close contender for track of the night. That accolade’s reserved for furious encore opener Elemental though, with Jim testifying to a crowd that’s already been well and truly converted.

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