JD McPherson, The Jumping Hot Club at Caedmon Hall, Gateshead, England
Saturday 27th January 2013
The Jumping Hot Club has done it again; not only have they unearthed an amazing young Rock and Roller called JD McPherson; but the Caedmon Hall in Gateshead is an outstanding venue with absolutely wonderful acoustics.
McPherson’s usual three piece band; were augmented by keyboards and saxophone tonight; and boy did they kick up a Rock and Roll storm.
If this concert had taken place 40 years previously, the who’s-who of the NE Roots Rock scene would have ripped up their seats with excitement; but as they were all of mature years gussied up and in some cases had their teenage kids in tow; it was left to a couple of dozen ladies to show everyone what this music is for – dancing, and dance they did all night.
With only one album to his name JD made the most of what he had and songs like Firebug took on a whole new exciting life as the band oozed self-confidence that belied their young ages.
It’s too easy for lazy writers to label this type of Rock and Roll as Retro; but the way bands like this perform it, it is anything but old-fashioned as this is a lifestyle choice; not a passing whim.
Okay; they are paying homage to music that their Grandparents danced to but when you first hear songs like Dimes For Nickels or the ode to Bo Diddley; Signs & Signifiers, then see McPherson and his band perform them you know they are actually bang up to date and the arrangements are as authentic as the quiff that legendary Chicago bassist, Jimmy Sutton sports.
The slow burner of an introduction to Country Boy had echoes of Sun era Elvis, but as soon as JD’s guitar really kicked in. the song became his very own and was an extraordinary highlight of the evening.
The baby faced singer is a pretty mean guitar player in his own right, but sounded uncannily like Bo Diddley at times and, it has to be said; his interplay with the saxophonist and Sutton has more than a hint of early Springsteen; but that’s hardly a criticism, is it?
My only complaint is becoming a bit of a regular in my reviews; while the audience had all bought their tickets well in advance and their were tales of people paying up to £50 from internet websites; why did they have to talk over the quieter songs to such a level that I could hear two different conversations about ‘how great the band were!’ What’s that about? Shut up you fools!
The first hour flew by in an instant and just when you thought that there were no more stops to be pulled out, Northside Gal sizzled with a sexual intensity as the dancers surrounded the stage and regaled us with a variety of perfectly choreographed steps.
I was thrilled to hear a few new songs, with Abigail’s Blues and Farmer John boding well for the future and one called Roll Down the Line which just might be the finest Rock song I’ve heard this year. Much to most people’s surprise, JD even slid in a new but old-school Ska tune; A Little More Oil in My Lamp which puzzled a few people, but I loved it.
The set finished with a fast and furious Wolf Teeth, but the band were soon called back for a well deserved 4 song encore that included a smoking version of Scratching Circles (on the old dancefloor) and ended with the band’s signature tune, Scandalous, which finally had the whole hall dancing like 1950’s teenagers.
Happy Days, indeed!