was the first time I'd seen Jump perform, and all I knew about them before
the show was that I'd missed them supporting Fish on his last tour. That's
not quite all actually. The reason I was here at all was because of the
main band, Pallas, at this second night of the Annual Classic Rock Society
Spring Progfest. Pallas have an Egroup which I'm a member of, and I'd seen
a couple of messages on it from others due to be at the show tonight.
They'd either seen or heard Jump before and had comments along these lines
to say about Jump before the gig (names withheld to protect the innocent):
Rotherham Oakwood Centre
15 May 1999
The MAN WHO WORKED
The NEARLY ENDED WORLD
The PRESSED MAN
USED TO THE TASTE
The FREEDOM TRAIN
SHED NO TEARS
2 UP, 2 DOWN
SOMEONE ELSE'S PRAYER
would have been the Encore:
KEEP THE BLUES
"Saw them a couple of
times with Fish, the music was OK, but the singer......" & "It was
more the vocalist using all the Fish circa Fugazi moves. the only
thing missing was the face paint."
"Saw them supporting
Fish at Haddington last year and thought they were ok, although the one
fingered keyboard playing was a bit dodgy."
"I think their music
isn't proggy at all. It's just a weak try to create some melodic stuff."
This was all I had to go on before the
show so you can imagine my surprise when I was so pleasantly surprised
after the first couple of tracks. I reckoned this was the best band
I'd come across as a support act in several years. In fact, with
the above Fish references, it's strange to note that two other support
acts I'd liked enough to buy their records had both been Marillion support
acts, The Violet Hour and Beltane Fire. These acts will doubtless be covered
on these pages eventually but here I'm supposed to to reviewing the Jump
show so I'd better get on with it.
The show had been delayed (rumoured to
be because Jump - who should have been the first act on stage tonight -
had arrived late, necessitating Nightwatch to take the stage first) and
everything was running about half an hour late, despite one of the acts
advertised not actually appearing (Grace - who's vocalist had to work that
day). I'm not sure that this rumour can be true, surely if Jump had arrived
last they would have had to set up their equipment before Nightwatch. If
it is is true I guess it would explain the delay in the show starting.
Whatever, Nightwatch kicked the show off with a pretty early-Genesis inspired
set, including several ridiculous costume changes from their vocalist.
Jump set began with The MAN WHO WORKED, most of which I missed as
I’d been outside the hall, talking to some of the Eyes in the Netters.
The conversation was about how bad they expected Jump to be and certainly
about the walking hamburger/microphone that we'd just witnessed as part
of the NIGHTWATCH set. I moved into the hall, stopping just in front of
the mixing desk to get a reasonable view and, hopefully, decent sound.
The view was good, though the sound was a little echoey. The singer, John
Dexter Jones, gave only a few indistinct words of introduction before
the chugging riff of PARADISE MISLAID began, and this is when the
quality of the songs and music began to dawn. I’d not heard enough of the
first track to have much opinion but now the melody and variation within
tracks became apparent, tempos rising and falling to suit the mood of the
lyrics. This was no average Marillion clone support band as I’d been led
to believe, but something special.
A brief pause for plenty of cheering and
clapping before the next track, BLIND BIRDS. It kicked off with
a brief guitar riff before Mo's keyboards led into the main track which
contained a mellow lyric and some nice harmonies care of guitarists Steve
Hayes and Pete Davies. JDJ almost launched into Delilah - “My, my,
my” just before the end of the track. Obviously I was not alone in my appreciation
of the music, the audience was pretty quiet throughout, listening to the
a quick "Thank you very much", JDJ thanked Nightwatch for coming, "While
I remember, a big hand for Nightwatch for coming all the way from Italy
to play. I think Nightwatch deserve a very big hand indeed”. The audience
duly obliged before JDJ continued , telling us about "the disparaging things
I said when we played with a band called Marillion at the Mean Fiddler"
which has "one of the most famous smoke machines in the whole of rock".
He had "told the bloke in the Mean Fiddler the same as I'm going to tell
the man who's operating the smoke machine tonight. If you carry on operating
the smoke machine tonight, and I should have told you this before and I
apologise, because I haven't done, I will personally widen the orifice
at the back between your legs and there the smoke machine will live for
the rest of your life, OK.” Large cheers of appreciation and agreement
from the crowd before JDJ continued “I don’t need smoke to make me look
good, I look f***ing great anyway” to more laughs. While smoke may help
highlight the lighting effects, excesses of it annoy everybody and there
was a massive excess tonight. Poor Wiz, lighting and smoke machine man.
He's only wee so I expect the threat from JDJ was particularly worrying
Continuing the NIGHTWATCH theme, “This
is a song about coming all the way from Italy to play here. It’s a hell
of a thing, you really have to believe in yourself to do that . It’s a
song called ALONE AHEAD". A quiet introduction built towards the
first chorus after which the tempo dropped a touch for the verse, rising
with each chorus. Pete Davies gave us some smooth slide playing at several
points during the track, the outro section in particular.
After a few comments about his jacket,
”I go round Petes house wearing this coat which I bought from a charity
shop in Wycombe, to try and help the charity ostensibly, of course, not
for the fashion element in it (laughs from the audience) as you can see."
John apologised about his earlier comment: "thanks very much to the guy
who isn't doing the smoke any more but is still doing a fantastic job on
the lights. I really didn’t meant that, I thought I’d qualify everything
I said in a about five minutes time in case anybody gets upset OK. “
Next on the setlist was "a brand new song.
We’ve played this one twice before. We played it to the, em, dozen or so
people in Wolverhampton on Thursday nigh, we played it in the Nag’s Head
the week before that and we’re still learning it. This features the
immense talent of Mr. Steven, ‘open tuning’ Hayes on the acoustic guitar.
I always though that made it easier to play but there you go. Apparently,
he tells me he’s immensely talented...! This is a song which will be on
the next studio album, it may even be the title track, this is The NEARLY
ENDED WORLD “ A count to four by Andy Barker (drummer) and they launched
into what, it turned out, was the third song of the set from their NEXT
album. A mellow, acoustic start to this track, Andy Faulkner (on bass)
and Mo (keyboards) adding a touch of colour before John arrived with some
restrained vocals for the first half of the track. The pace increased as
Pete joined in on electric guitar ending up in a fairly powerful, heavy
mid section before mellowing again towards the end. Plenty of cheers for
the next track JDJ had a few microphone problems, feedback from the monitor
I think, before telling us, "I share all my jokes with everyone, sometimes
it gets me into trouble, sometimes I get to write songs about it, don’t
I, Tower of Babel. Not doing that one tonight" (it must be an in joke -
which he DIDN'T share - as I’d no idea what he was waffling on about) .After
some more problems with the mic he restarted his introduction without the
aid of a microphone, shouting, “this song is about a man who joins
up, he’s in a pub in Nettlebed in Oxfordshire, when a bunch of trooper
in the English Civil War come up in a pub and say, "he’ll do" 'cos he’s
had about 92 pints of Old Speckled whatever-they-had in the 1600’s".
“Hen” was the offer from the audience.
“Hen. They probably had Old Speckled Cock
but you can’t say that anymore, can you. (laughs from aud), “If you said
Old Speckled Cock now it would be politically incorrect, so they call it
Old specked Hen because Old Speckled Cock was probably a reference to venereal
disease, wasn’t it., (laughs) and Old Speckled Hen doesn't have quite the
same ring to it."
After that little aside the explanation
continued, “Anyway, he’s in the pub and he’s having a few pints of Old
Speckled ... ", laughs again, and then JDJ spots something, “Sorry,
there are children here, nobody told me. I just saw ...”
laughs from aud as JDJ tries to recover - “Old Speckled Willie ... and
they come in and they say ‘Do you want a shilling, lad?’, and he’s so pissed
he thinks, “God, that’s a few more pints” in those days, and he ‘s “Yeah,
I’ll have a bit more of that, he thinks, and he signs up and his journey
through life over the next year takes him to the skirmish field of Caversham
Bridge in Reading, and he ends up on Marston Moor in Yorkshire thinking
“I’ve had enough of this, I'm off” and he deserts. This is the deserters
song, the song about the man who has no cause, and does anything for a
shilling because that’s the only way he’s gonna eat. It’s called The
Like a deserter the track raced along,
slowing towards the end as the tale drew to a close, the crowd silent until
almost the final note on the keyboards had faded. With
these last couple of introductions I could see why people linked JDJ with
Fish, the Celtic voice (albeit one Scottish, the other Welsh) and the rambling
stories and jokes certainly reminded me of many a fun Fish or Marillion
gig. It was around this part of the show that I decided that I had to see
this band again - they were fun and played great music.
After the last introduction, and possibly
because of the children, the introduction to the next number was brief,
and to the point “This is the Monika Lewinsky song, this is called USED
TO THE TASTE. Towards the end JDJ added a touch of Robert Plant style
droning with "Talk about Love" repeated several times - a Zeppelin track
the name of which escapes me at the moment. John congratulated the CRS
on the cosmopolitan range of acts they put on, Nightwatch earlier and Credo
from Mexico the previous night. "So this is a song from merry England.
It's about the way we're headed with the dumbed down Six O'clock News for
idiots" which led into a mini tirade
"This is a song that we wrote nine years
ago and it still means exactly the same nowadays. It's called The FREEDOM
TRAIN" It's a mellow track featuring Steve on acoustic guitar (and
probably JDJ - I can't remember) throughout, slightly reminiscent of Lynyrd
The music begins before the introduction
to the next track, "Imaging going up to the bar and having a few pints
with your mates, discussing bands or something, and a man with a balaclava
walks into the pub with a gun, and tells you to lie down and close your
eyes. And you're waiting for the band of the gun, and you're wondering
whether you'll actually hear it, or it's for someone else?" This was perfectly
timed to end just as the vocals came in to SHED NO TEARS. Again,
it was a slow, poignant, track which held the crowd silent. Touches of
Dylan's How many roads... included at the end of the track this time.
"TWO UP, TWO DOWN" picked up the
pace with a tale of life back in the Welsh homeland, the chorus of which
many of the audience already knew. Not surprising if they'd been around
for 9 years I guess. "This is a little song called SOMEONE
ELSE'S PRAYER part the first" introduced the, again, gentle acoustic
track, the introduction of which was spoilt by JDJ thanking us "for singing
in Two Up, wants us to do it again in this number" and trying to get a
chorus going again before advertising the new CD and Malcolm Parker's stand,
"I've heard a lot about Malcolm Parkers stand!"
No break between songs again, only a count
of "one, two" before they upped both the tempo and the power as electric
guitars were again to the fore in TONGUE TIED - possibly also about
Monika and Bill! There was also no break before
"We've got two songs left and we're not
going to overrun. And even though you yell absolutely, determinedly for
more for us to come back on there's a fantastic band to come on later.
We're running a little late, the day is running half an hour late anyway
and we're not going to outstay our welcome any longer because most of you
have come here to see Pallas. We hope you've enjoyed our show and we hope
you've enjoyed Nightwatch's show so we'll just leave you with two songs
and then we'll actually get off and not come back so if you'd like
to treat this as the end part of our set and really go mental
that'd be great. so, effectively, we've been off, we've been towelled down,
" cue cheering for "more, more" and JDJ went on the thank and
tell us "It's great to be here in Rotherham, thank you" (as if just coming
back onstage after a quick towelling). "This is a song about a big
horse and a fetish for wearing a mask. It's called The HIGHWAYMAN."
This was the standout track of the eveniing, the one I wanted to hear live
again. It featured some dual guitarplaying from Pete and Steve very much
in the Thin Lizzy/Wishbone Ash stlye and worked wonderfully on first hearing.
Buy the live CD to find out if you've never seen Jump. In fact, if
you are going to buy a CD make sure it is the live one - it really does
show the quality and power of their material.
Part way through the track it was band
"On the drums, staying in the second
division, the Wycombe Wanderer, Mr. Andy Barker."
"On the keyboards, making us popular
with every Scottish act that we've played with, (laughs from a dirty minded
audience), from the Barrowlands of Glasgow, Mo from Glasgow."
"On bass guitar, all set up for
tomorrow's Grand Prix. This is the Hairbear, the man who keeps posters
of Ferraris on his walls, the David Bailey of the band, the photographer,
"I can't introduce Steve as I normally
do because there are children in the room. Steve comes from Kent but we
never call him the bloke form Kent, or the man from Kent, or the lad from
Kent. We call him the ???? from Kent, Steve Hayes on the blue
"From South Wales, the home of Neil Jenkins,
(and some boring ball related comments), Peter Davies"
"I come from Bangor in North Wales , my
name is John Dexter Jones and I thank you very much indeed."
All that remained was the bluesy KEEP
THE BLUES to round off an almost 90 minute set, much more than I'd
expected. It's not often you come across a band you like on first hearing
and, finding out that they are based near me was an equally unexpected
bonus. Read more of my reviews to see how they continue to expand their
repertoire. I have yet to be disappointed by a Jump show so, if you get
the chance, give them a try.
After the gig comments from the Eyes in
the Netters had changed somewhat:
"I must make an apology
to Jump. On Saturday they were considerably better than on the three
previous occasions I have seen them support bands. It could be 'cause
JJB was actually funny on this occasion, 'though my money is on Wiz"
"and shock horror I enjoyed
Jump even though John Dexter Jones has got a gob the size of Tynemouth
and was possibly lucky not to be taken next door to Rotherham General with
a rotating Varilite stuck up his arse (you had to be there)"
"Just been listening to
the second album again and it's actually starting to grow on me. They're
by no means of the word a 'prog' band. Some of the songs do remind me of
The Men They Couldn't Hang though, must be all that stuff about pressgangs
and Highwaymen ! As for my comments about JDJ and Fish, I guess if you
want to be a decent frontman then you should be looking to rip off either
Fish, Freddie Mercury or David Lee Roth !"
Apologies if anyone quoted
would rather not have been. I will remove any comments if requested.