Instead of introducing the band the first chat of the evening was about football and drummer Andy Barker's team: "Wycombe Wanderers lost badly to Walsall today." Quite what that had to do with anything was lost on me until the addendum, ".. and like Jerry's packed Friday and Saturday nights everything has to come to an end." I assume from this that the owner of the club is Jerry and that the venue is rather less busy than the last time Jump played here. We made the trip the previous time, the first time Jump had played Milton Keynes in quite a few years, and the venue had been less than packed that night. Tonight seemed busier but from what Judith told me (and the comments made by JDJ backed this up) tonight was quieter. Still, there were more in the crowd than the previous evening (Newbury Kings Tavern) but the size of the venue spaced them out more.
As the musicians checked their instruments vocalist John Dexter Jones (JDJ) tried to raise the microphone stand to an appropriate height for his six foot plus frame. Unfortunately the stand is either stuck or designer for Ronnie James Dio and JDJ eventually gave up trying as the soundman asked if they wanted "a big intro?"
That is not the Jones plan however as he explained "We were going to play some mindless blues in the hope that people from out in the street in would rush in" then adding "... sadly no. This is a song about Radiohead called THOM'S NEW CLOTHES". The set has reverted to opening with this new number again (as at Reading three weeks earlier) which features Pete Davies on lead guitar and solo. Not being a fan of Radiohead fan I have no idea if the music sounds like them thought the lyrics are aimed at the 'different' nature of their latest album (the album being 'Kid A - recently awarded 3rd worst position in classic Rock magazines year 2000 poll').
No time for chat between opening songs as Pete moved almost straight into DR SPIN. This is another track destined for the next album though it has been in the set for at least six months. In light of both accusations and admissions of 'Jump turning country' this track keeps them firmly in rock territory.
"And the room was dusted and sprinkled with applause ... in a MOSCOW CIRCUS" introduces the first 'oldie' of the evening - from the last Jump album, Matthew. It is a gentle track that rocks harder during the choruses. Between choruses JDJ announced "I think I wanna dance now" before taking a little gyrate around the stage. No line dancing though!
As the second guitarist moved things forward into LOUDER THAN WORDS "the room was dusted and sprinkled once again with the applause of 1000 men and one woman ... Steve Hayes, here he comes." Obviously Steve takes the lead in this one, aone from the presently unavailable Wolds of Wonder album. It's a jaunty tune that keeps guitar histrionics in check, providing a bouncing backing to the lyrics.
"Don't start to turn me on" is adlibbed in the lyrics as a couple of young ladies walk past the stage and up to the bar.
As the crowd (split nicely in two - the Jump fan half of the audience sitting along one wall, the venue locals sticking, in a parallel line, along the bar) are the target of the many and varied JDJ comments such as "... and then they squealed like a stuffed pig. Do you like Harry Hill - I've adopted his approach to sparcity."
Lead duties switched back to Pete in the next song "about computers and the people who spend their whole f@#!n' lives staring at them. It's called the BRAVE NEW WORLD." Another new one with a rotating riff. Mr Jones amplifies the lyrics with some air mouse-work between verses. Not bad for a man who doesn't appear to own a PC himself. No dedications to peoples website tonight and, if you listen to the lyrics, the song is more about the sickness of internet porn than music sites - though that may change by the time the song is recorded for the album.
John has his first moan at the faithful (those of us sitting at the tables) next. "If you all didn't sit at tables like @r$es, and stood up it would give the impression ... of a crowd, as opposed to sitting on their home sofa listening to the CD" before explaining that "Pete will now sit on his stool" (in a poor attempt at schoolboy humour) as Pete sat down and swapped over to acoustic guitar. A shout of "stand up" from crowd interupted the background to the track "any fascist types, or neo-Nazis from column 88 may leave, go to the other bar and buy themselves a drink, because they won't want to hear this one." He also explained "this is for all your friends in school with trenchcoats on who are a bit weird, RIGHT WINGER." The aforementioned 'country' influence starts here - though it is an odd choice of subject for that type of music. Steve played some nifty slide while Pete strumed away on the acoustic guitar. During the 'picking' middle eight drummer Andy Barker moved into a shuffle while Mo added some interesting counterplay to Steves runs. (Having paid for this gig I'm glad to have a seat to sit on, even though it is a wooden stool (like Pete) and not as comfortable as the sofas JDJ cites.)
"This is an optimistic song ... . it also features Mr lime green Peter Davies on acoustic guitar. This is about getting off your @rse, stopping moaning and doing something." (Stop moaning? Maybe someone should heed their own words as insulting the fanbase who travelled a lot further than the bar downstairs for this show is hardly the way to encourage us back!) RISE continues in the acoustic vein though only in the most marginal of country ways. Mo is quite to the fore during this one, with some nice piano during the main piece and also a lead spot mid-way through the track.
I'm not sure quite what Mr. Jones was on tonight but his following comments confused me completely. "These waterproof trousers are good for gardening in, the rain runs right off them and so does the sweat that's being generated around my b@ll@cks" This was followed by some further dubious comment before continuing."this is a song about my pubic hair, its from Wales like I am, a song about (several Welsh places I would not dare attempt to spell) ... ALONE AHEAD." A few folk enter during this slow, building, song - it's 23:15 and the bars are now kicking out punters in the surrounding area! I wonder what the half cut new entrants made of the introduction? A rare compliment (tonight especially) from JDJ after the song, "Peter Davies there, the grand exponent of the slide guitar."
"It would be pointless us rock and rolling our way from the start to the finish of the set. It would become boring so from this point on the show ramps up for ever and ever and ever to the end. This is called The FREEDOM TRAIN from our first CD..." As the long intro ended John realised that he'd lost the crowds interest and so started talking about them to no see if there was a response. Stepping way back from the microphone he started quoting Bob Dylan lyrics, "How does it feel to be on your own .... like a complete unknown?" With minimal interest from the chatting bar crowd Steve began on acoustic guitar while Pete returned to electric for the rhythm part. Part way through the lyrics were altered to draw attention to the gap between fanbase and barfly element: "I shall relate the tale of my last stage dive" and "the crowd should part like the sea of Galilee " and "I wish I wasn't in this place listening to some country band get it on". They may not be paying attention to the lyrics (or between song banter) but the barflies do at least applaud as the song ended.
"This here's a country song, I told you we were ramping up and ... as we reach the end it'll be like Cradle of Filth, I promise, but this is a country song called LOVE SONG NUMBER 5." At this point two of the fan crowd took time out in the ladies rather than suffer a country love song. The set was supposed to be ramping up but this dawdling number is closer to braking hard! Pete and Steve keep to the same guitars for this track, Pete taking the solo (though he's introduced as "Eric Clapton on guitar" just to confuse the partially attentive crowd. There was a cheer of appreciation from at least one of the barflies for Petes bluesy solo as the final notes faded from the PA, possibly one of the blues fans mentioned before the show began.
"This is a song sans plectrum. (JDJ is passed Steve's acoustic - but no plectrum - while he in turn moves back to electric) This is a song called 2 UP, 2 DOWN." The tempo is finally increased (and the country left firmly behind) with this jaunty, three guitar, number. In fact the mid chorus is rapped - a pretty far departure from country.
Another new album track followed, "a song about the channel 5 films you watch when you get home from gigs. If you've missed the Red Shoe diaries ... blah blah (more smutty commentary - if you've had the pleasure of watching the programme I'm sure you can work out the sort of things said). "
"This is where they take the children from the building (as one was escorted out for a moment), this is a song called LIKE A DRUM." Either the keyboards are mixed higher than normal tonight or they are normally buried more in the mix. Whatever, Mo seems more obvious tonight as a thin hammondy sound is clear before the guitars roar in. This is the rockiest number for a while and attracts the attention of some of the bar side contingent, others still deep in conversation. At least one guy began headbanging along to the heavier sections - a target for later abuse!
Off mic John tells everyone the next track is "Used to the taste" while on mic he expands a little, "This is the Monika Lewinsky song, this is called USED TO THE TASTE." The twin guitars of Pete and Steve work well in the introductory section of this track ringing out and attracting the audiences attention again. After Pete and Mo traded riffs John lyrically moves into led Zeppelin territory with a brief section of TRAMPLED UNDERFOOT, Pete joining in with the riff at the "Talk about Love" chorus. A surprise move into GHOST TOWN (by the Specials!) followed and the band kept the beat going as chat moved over to John's experience of "kiddies band Fear Factory" who he saw "supporting Sabbath last year." He wasn't very impressed and gave us his impression of their vocalist (who seemed to moan like a bear that had recently been stung by a hive of wasps) before moving into WAR PIGS before threatening "and then there was Jazz, that your father was brought up on." Thankfully a call from the crowd said "please don't play Jazz" so JDJ moved back to safer ground and Zeppelin with the "Been a long time" section of Zeps ROCK'N'ROLL instead before asking "has anybody seen the bridge?" (another Zep reference). He then offered the option of "Soul, What about a little bit of soul sir" - "I'm a soulman..." before making another weird comment, "If there's anybody who's in a tribute band in ... please approach the stage so I can p!ss on your head." Thankfully we were spared that 'pleasure' and, without missing a beat, the band moved straight into TONGUE TIED, a more laid back and grooving track, again with Mo making her presence felt.
"This is a song were going to send to C4 for their morning ??? (horse racing programme) ..." before "This'll be a bit twee for the metal fans (told you the headbanger would suffer) but f@*k the metal fans as they say." On that pleasant note Steve began the riff for THE HIGHWAYMAN. The track was brought forward in the set but still included the band introduction.
On the drums, a Warsall (?) renegade, they pulled one back at the end, sets them up for the game with us nicely then, Mr Andy Barker from High Wycombe in Berkshire on drums."
"The man in black next to me, this is Steve Hayes from Maidstone in Kent on the brown guitar.."
Jerry told me a good one, and I have to repeat it and the time is now. No I'd better not tell Jerry's joke 'cos that'll ruin his thunder 'cos every punter who comes in he can tell tht joke and survive on telling them that joke for a considerably longer period than you.
"On the bass guitar, electric blue, Mr **** video with grey hair, Andy Faulkner from St. Albans in Hertfordshire on the bass guitar playing one of his fave Rush tribute tunes." A brief blast on bass before Mr Jones has had enough and moves onto guitarist number two:
"From Pontyprith in south Wales on the red guitar, Peter Davies (before repeating the intro in Welsh - which I'll leave to the imagination). I think we faked a 2-2 draw with the Armenians today while you hammered the Fins 2 -1." Then it was straight into his own introduction, "I'm from Bangor in north Wales, a Liverpool fan though, my name is JDJ thank you very much." Hapilly (?) he also commenetd "There's one person that clapped me there." An initially breathless final verse ended with Pete playing a long machine gun type riff which led into JUDGEMENT DAY, JDJ proclaiming before the vocals began, "oh no, not more heavy metal." Strange this as it seems to be the 'heavy metal' fans who are listening and 'getting into' the music. Time for another lyrical medley in the middle of the track, Aerosmith's WALK THIS WAY and LOVE IN ELEVATOR starting things (and getting one or two of the audience singing along - probably those very heavy metal fans) before returning to the bluesy roots of the Rolling Stones YOU CAN'T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT. Back to Led Zep territory (again ;o( ) with a chorus of NOBODIES FAULT BUT MINE before Pete took things back to the roots of Heavy metal' and Sabbath's PARANOID. "Who needs tribute bands when you can make it up as you go along?" boasted JDJ before a brief reprise of JUDGEMENT DAY.
"If I could be in a tribute band the only one I'd be in would be in is a Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band ... because I've got a big black hat and I know all the words." Time for the first plug of the night then, "Buy one of our CDs though after the show, keep rock and roll going." Steve took lead duties for SWEET HOME ALABAMA and also the solo before last chorus. A cue for the audience to sing was rather tainted by the needless addition of "even the people at the tables, the lard-arses sitting down." It's not as if none of us were singing either, just with slightly less large mouths than the man on stage. Before the " Watergate" verse JDJ helps fix Andys bass strap. "I'm gonna keep the blues" is the last line of the song (well, tonight it is) to inform the band it is time move directly into old favourite KEEP THE BLUES. During it the "I stepped out of the shadows" line was emphasised with Jones stepped down the stage stairs - out of the light of the stage spots!. Strange. "Remember when you were young" quietened the track and moved into (for the first time this year) a section of Pink Floyds SHINE ON YOU CRAZY DIAMOND. This in turn meandered into chat about the Led Zeppelin and August the 4th (1979) and the first of two days Zep headlined the Knebworth festival. That "was the day and it changed my life" before Pete played an extended blues workout to which JDJ added some lines from WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS. He then added some adlibbed lyrics about the Lottery and a touch of Zep's NO QUARTER before we were told, in no uncertain terms, "that's two hours so you're really have to shout a lot if you want some more" (Actually, pedantic reviewer who was hoping for a prompt start, it's only an hour and fifty minutes as the time is 00:20.)
They are fairly easily persuaded to continue with "a song about allsorts, a song about television and everything really." Before the words to the song introduced start JDJ wandered lyrically into BABY PLEASE DON'T GO and Paul Rodgers territory with FEEL LIKE MAKIN' LOVE and ALL RIGHT NOW, the bar hogging audience finally joining in on the last of the three. "We used to do this medley with Gary Glitter songs in it. We don't do that any more" as he promptly sang a chorus of "Do you wanna be in my gang?" One of the audience then called for AC/DC, the track of Pete's choice being in "E, apparently!" The track chosen was BACK IN BLACK, in line with the album on the T-shirt of the requester. Unfortunately Jonesy doesn't know the words past the first couple of lines so the riff dies out turning into te beginning of the track initially introduced. To confuse matters (and band?) JDJ ignopred the riff and began singing some lyrics I didn't recognise with an eastern sound (Gryphon's Galliard off World of Wonder) before moving back to AC/DC and a line or two of A TOUCH TOO MUCH . Finally John remembered the song he introduced and began THE LIGHTBOX. After the excess of 'tribute tunes' tonight JDJ paused before one of the lines to adapt it to be "this is not a tribute band, this is living in the promised land." Having warned people they'd be asked up onstage to play guitar (before they finally started the last track) JDJ readied his acoustic guitar before the last verse.
"Well go one more for you and it depends how loudly you shout given the title of either of these songs. Anybody who'd like to get up and play either of these songs with us would be more than welcome."
A call from audience asked for "some Inspiral Carpets" which was "a bit Manchester" for JDJ. Instead they did a brief, and rough, attempt at Oasis' RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW before moving swiftly into KNOCKING ON HEAVENS DOOR. During the "knock, knock, knocking..." chorus JDJ went through some of the London venues he'd played, Shepherds Bush Empire, The Forum and "the Marquee lots of time" to a completely unimpressed audience who probably wondered why they weren't playing there tonight, leaving them to have a quiet drink. After this egotism John introduced "Steve, come on" for the mid track guitar solo. Before things picked up for the finale it was time for a merchandising plug, "if you're flush, and you feel like taking a little part of this evening home with you tonight see somebody after the show and take little piece of plastic home." Flying in the face of this commercialism some punk lyrics are spouted over the guitar crescendo before "finally, in a gothic style," the final lines of Knocking.
may have been it had the DJ/soundman not prompted the remains of the audience
to cheer for some more.
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