The best British music at SXSW as selected by 'Mojo' Editor-in-Chief Phil Alexander
The Jim Jones Revue11pm, Prague
The battered, brutally vandalized piano that graces the sleeve of its self-titled debut says a lot about the Jim Jones Revue's pounding approach to rock & roll. In fact, while "rock & roll" as a term has been grotesquely misappropriated through the years, the London-based fivepiece will have no truck with modern day reinterpretations of the genre – most of which have little, if anything, to do with the hell-raising rama-lama of rock's original pioneers.
"Basically, we wanted to see if we could create the energy of Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Scotty Moore – the original rock & rollers," Jim Jones told Mojo at the start of the year during an interview in which his Revue was tipped by the magazine as one of the 10 acts to watch in 2010.
Fittingly, the quintet's first rehearsal saw them crammed into a tiny room and turning their hand to Little Richard's "Hey Hey Hey Hey," the B-side to the Georgia Peach's seminal 1958 classic, "Good Golly Miss Molly."
"It immediately sounded great. It was like we had the tiger by the tail. The chemistry was amazing," enthuses Jones.
"Hey Hey Hey Hey" has remained in the Jim Jones Revue's set since that first rehearsal some three years back. In the time that's elapsed, frontman-cum-guitarist Jones, pianist Elliot Mortimer, guitarist Rupert Orton, and the rhythm section of Gavin Jay (bass) and Nick Jones (drums) have attempted to write material that emulates that track's untamed energy. For the most part, they've succeeded, the band's aforementioned 2008 album soliciting huge praise for its primal energy – the result of a two-day studio session that spawned 10 tracks.
The Jim Jones Revue itself is one of the loudest slices of British rock & roll to emerge in the last 20 years, mastered as it is at exceedingly loud volume and clearly designed to be played on vinyl rather than a pocket-sized MP3 player. The band's debut has been followed by a run of highly acclaimed 7-inch singles which themselves have been collected on a second LP, the fittingly titled Here to Save Your Soul.
The latter collection – released on Orton's own Punk Rock Blues label, as was the group's debut – has provided the band with a further excuse to tour relentlessly throughout Europe and the UK, a recent sold-out show at Camden's 400-capacity Jazz Cafe proving to be one of the gigs of the year so far. In attendance that particular night were Mick Jones and Tony James, just two fellow muso fans from a list that also includes Jack White and Chris Robinson.
Indeed, such is the band's popularity among fellow musicians that the Jim Jones Revue's second album proper was produced by Bad Seeds/Grinderman percussionist Jim Sclavunos. Prior to the disc's release this summer, the Revue has a run of SXSW shows (including tonight's show) before returning for a full UK tour and a series of French gigs.
"We've come so far in such a short space of time," says Jones, grateful of his band's rise. "What we've achieved is beyond our expectations. And we're still hanging on to that tiger's tail!"
Four More 'Mojo' Brit Picks for Thursday
Let's Wrestle, Cedar Street Courtyard, 8pm
Fyfe Dangerfield, Lamberts, 10pm
Kill It Kid, Victorian Room at the Driskill, 12mid
The XX, Mohawk Patio, 1am