Jon Spencer – 26th October 2018 – Leeds Stylus – Review and photos
Feature by Graeme J Baty
It’s quite rare when I see a gig announcement and get excited about both the headliner and the support but this tour did exactly that. Jon Spencer would be enough to entice me but with the added bonus of the Melvins headlining (a separate feature coming for that very soon), it was just way too much cool for me to turn down! I filled up the car with petrol and did a 200-mile round trip to see this gig! Was it worth it? The answer is a HELL YES!
Spencer has put together a rather great band. Going into the show I wasn’t sure how the songs would work in a live setting or who would be his backing band. The album was a very welcome surprise and I’ve found myself listening to it on heavy rotation for the last week or two (head here for my verdict on that).
As the record is relatively short and concise, Spencer and his “Hitmakers” pretty much rattled through the entire album. They had quite a good set time and managed to fill 45 mins with some very welcome JSBX tracks from the archives. It was great to hear Shirt Jac and it really got the diehard fans moving! Dang sounded fantastic with Quasi legend Sam Coomes doing the honours on backing vocal screams and keys.
I was captivated by the percussionist. He looked familiar, not to mention he was banging a metal trash can, along with a kick drum, various car parts and a huge coil spring. I can’t imagine what the airline thought of that luggage coming from America! Watching the show for a good 15-20 minutes the penny finally dropped where I know the percussionist from! It’s only thee Bob Bert! Now you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a Pussy Galore type band but the sound is firmly rooted in rock ‘n’ roll, albeit with that unmistakable Spencer magic touch.
At first, the crowd reaction was quite reserved. I found having already heard the songs that I knew what was coming and I really enjoyed it. Spencer warmed the audience and towards the end punters seemed to get it and go with the flow! Tonight the songs were delveered in a much more subdued pace than a Jon Spencer Blues Explosion gig, where song after song hits you in a relentless Ramones style fashion.
Beetle Boots and Time 2 Be Bad were live favourites for me. Both sounding really great with the junkyard sounds nice and high up in the mix they really add a load of character to the songs and performance.
Spencer left the stage with a “Good night! Fuck you Trump!” To a rather large applause. What a show! I’m a bit disappointed that I can’t make any of the solo shows (and the lack of a Cape at this one!), I can only imagine they will perform even more of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion songs in a full headline show. A few people have already asked me “is he worth seeing as a solo act?” The answer is f**k yes!”.
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