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Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Jim Jones Revue Induces Rock 'n' Roll Psychosis at the Independent

Posted By on Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 7:00 AM

The Jim Jones Revue at the Independent last night.
  • The Jim Jones Revue at the Independent last night.

The Jim Jones Revue

The Sandwitches

September 7, 2011

The Independent

Better than: The last time you saw the keyboardist headbang.

There weren't exactly at lot of people at the Independent last night to see Brit rock 'n' roll revivalists the Jim Jones Revue. But there was a woman, probably in her early twenties, who by the end of the set had slipped off the upper part of the pants-dress thing she was wearing and commenced slam-dancing flirtatiously into everyone nearby, with the entire upper part of her body clad only in a bra.

Trust us: It didn't seem all that out of place at the time. Bra lady was surrounded by a grove of people dancing, in elation, to the Jim Jones Revue, whose six members produced a sound like '50s rock 'n' roll with a monstrous piano and a terrible meth habit, led by a dapper gent (Mr. Jones himself) sporting the vocal cords of a werewolf.


Which is to say that the Jim Jones Revue were loud, engaging, and endlessly entertaining -- and the sparse attendance at their show last night was at the very least a crime against rock 'n' roll, and very possibly a crime against humanity. We're talking about five dudes blaring out hyperspeed blues, ribboned with madman piano runs and the boisterous rumblings of a naturally slinky frontman. A frontman who addressed (and we mean "shouted invitingly at") nearly everyone in the front row, assfucked his mic stand, soloed the shit out of his Gibson (when he was wearing it), and seemed to shred the fibres of his larynx right there onstage for everyone in the too-small crowd to see. Jim Jones' voice began as a rough yowl; it ended as a gravelly bellow. But then, a gravelly bellow is exactly what songs like "Shoot First" beg for.


There was little variety, sure -- nearly every Jim Jones Revue song is a drawn-out explosion of midcentury boogie and Jerry Lewis-style ba-da-da-da-da-da piano blarage and overdriven guitar riffs with mild changes in tempo and attitude. And that can get old. But the band played for only about an hour, and toured through the best songs off their two albums, a self-titled debut and this year's Burn Your House Down. Those records, especially the first, sound like they were recorded with a single Sears Roebuck microphone during the Eisenhower presidency. (The latter, our recommendation for a starting point, was recorded by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds producer Jim Sclavunos and contains a few of the band's best songs: "High Horse," "Foghorn," and the title track.)


Thankfully, the Revue sounded only tastefully overdriven onstage last night. The True Grit in their live show was all in Jones' swaggering gyrations at the edge of the stage, and the black leather attitude, and the smallish crowd grinning and whirling around -- some half-naked, most in total delight.

Critic's Notebook

Personal bias: Saw these guys at the end of a long night at SXSW last year, playing on someone else's equipment. They were good then, but they were better last night.

Overheard: "Now that was a rock 'n' roll show."

The Sandwitches
  • The Sandwitches

Opener: I like the Sandwitches, but their harmony-led Americana rock seemed like a strange choice to open for such an unsubtle band as the Jim Jones Revue.


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