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Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Jim Jones Revue/The Bellrays/Lewis Floyd Henry - King Tuts - 29/3/11 (Glasgow)

I've never seen a one man band in the flesh. A real one man band.
Someone who plays everything at hand to him and can transport it all about in a shopping trolley, or in this case a pram.
The whole concept always seemed a bit naff.
The stereotypical guy standing on a street corner shouting, blowing into a harmonica and banging his knee cymbals together tonelessly.
Lewis Floyd Henry turns all that on its head though.
One part Hendrix, one part street poet and a whole chunk of mad.
It's a powerful performance and one that highlights why audiences should try and get in to see a support act, because if you don't then talented artists like that are what you could miss.
I could kick myself for not picking up a copy of his début that was on sale at the merch stall.
He's a guy whose name I'll tuck away and hopefully see more of in the future.
The Bellrays are a band that my partner raves about, and had assured me would blow the roof off. It's an opinion that others I know had expressed so I was looking forward to their set, but nothing they had said had really prepared me for how good this band are.
Lisa Kekaula has one of the strongest and most soulful voices that I have ever heard.
To me it's shocking that she is better known here in the UK for adding guest vocals on a couple of Basement Jaxx songs rather than for fronting The Bellrays.
She's the Amazon queen of the Californian funk punk garage scene. A warrior in the flesh.
The band don't miss a beat and guitarist Robert Vennum is the perfect foil to Lisa's powerhouse approach to rockin' out.
It's early in the year, but The Bellrays are going to feature as one of the best I will have seen come year end.
I can safely say this as in my years of going to see bands I can only think of a handful that play at this level.
It feels real what they do.
Disappointingly the crowd in King Tuts don't appear to be able to pick up on what I'm getting from the show though.
Even when Lisa tries to engage them between songs the response is ill deservedly lukewarm.
I don't understand the lack of response shown and once again I find myself wondering what a band needs to do to draw a reaction from a crowd.
Here is accomplished musicians playing original music to a very high standard in a very exciting way and it isn't enough.
I mention this to my partner later on and he says “but the Bellrays aren't on the cover of MOJO or featured in the soundtrack of the latest blockbuster movie. Some people need that before they will commit to admitting that they like what they hear”.
I don't know if that's right, but he might have a point with The Bellrays providing some evidence that may support his view.
If a band can be said to have failed to put a foot wrong live then it is The Bellrays.
Shame on the scenesters who can't publicly show appreciation without a nudge from some cool list. That is if that is what was going on.
I missed the Jim Jones Revue when the played the Captains Rest.
Not because I wasn't there, but because I felt ill and couldn't breathe in the heat of the venue.
So all through their set I sat upstairs taking deep breaths of cool air and trying not to throw up while I could feel the beat of the band throbbing under my feet.
So this was going to be my second bite at the apple.
MOJO and Classic Rock are still claiming that they are the best rock and roll band in the UK right at this moment and from the performance tonight I would have to agree.
They own the stage from the very second they step onto it.
It's a rock cliché to claim a band play like a well oiled machine with every member being a cog that keeps its heart beating, but this describes the Jim Jones Revue perfectly.
Even when a small spanner is thrown in and Jim's guitar fucks up he simply takes it in his stride and the whole band follow his lead with a slight juggle of the set list.
Nothing slows this train down.
More clichés spring to mind.
They have the crowd in the palm of their hand. Naturally.
By the end of the set they left the audience gasping for more. Of course.
You can tear whatever sentence out of the rock and roll cliché book and it will neatly fit into a Jim Jones Revue review.
That's not to say that what they do is tired or old.
What they do is more like capturing lightning in a bottle and them they spill it out into the night air.
The encores are exhausting and by the time the gig ends it's touch and go who could have lasted for another song. The crowd and the Jim Jones Revue both stumble to the finish line in a sweaty heap and its a photo finish.
As everyone trickled out of Tuts I wandered over to the merch stall to grab a Jim Jones T-shirt and bumped into Lisa Kekaula on the way out.
We chatted for a very short time and her warmth as a person made for it to be the perfect ending to a perfect evening..

Thanks go to Charlie for sorting the gig out for us, CJ for partnering me on the night and Alex for the company.

Kelly Conway


  1. Bloody great review Kelly. Glad you enjoyed the bands. They are both class live acts.

  2. Nice review. Thank you. Loved seeing them the last time they played London.