As I enter The Fleece on a grim Thursday night the support band have just taken the stage and local band Cauda Pavonis might not be everyone’s cup of tea with their steampunk full goth schtick which was as unavoidable as the backing tapes and recorded synths but some people in attendance were getting into it as the set wore on. Frontwoman Su was a likable and engaging singer but the music was not really to my taste although I do remember a couple of titles in ‘Aces And Eights’ and ‘Love Like Broken Glass’ and I do remember them singing about nurseries and other goth things but I wasn’t really here for that I did get distracted by the fleeces video screens either side of the venue displaying the countless tribute bands currently boggin’ up (or maybe propping up ) venues like this and I remember feeling quite sad about it as the Goths played on and maybe I should take more of an interest in them because at least they weren’t peddling someone else’s music and all power to them for what they do as it must be a serious niche scene.
Anyway onto the headliners Gene Loves Jezebel who are covering six UK cities on their first jaunt in a decade featuring Pete Rizzo, James Stevenson, and Jay Aston. You know when you get a feeling that this is going to be good well as soon as Stevenson hit the strings to unleash ‘Twenty Killer Hurts’ it wasn’t all best of material and you could never accuse Gene Loves Jezebel of hopping on the nostalgia circuit because it certainly didn’t feel like that nor did the band perform like they were just going through the motions.
‘Cow’ was dedicated to Vegans in the audience and to be fair when Jay asked how many were in attendance you could have heard a pin drop (Bristol keeping it old school). ‘Sweet Sweet Rain’ was dedicated to Jay’s motherland just across the border and ‘Kiss Of Life’s’ ‘Why Can’t I’ was majestic.
The last studio album featuring these three had ‘Someone You Love’ and ‘Flying’ represented and they transitioned seamlessly into the middle of the set. there were plenty of crowd pleasers yet to play and the clock was ticking I did start to think if we’d manage to cram in so many songs I wanted to hear. It was a dip into the archives for ‘Bruises’ of the first album which had me thinking how long ago that was and to be fair to Jay he’s certainly got the peter pan thing happening as he’s managed to stay rock n roll pencil thin and like his heroes he dances and jokes with the audience and is on good form tonight sharing stories about the songs as they come thick and fast. ‘Gorgeous’, ‘Jealous’, ‘Break The Chains’ were all aired before Jay introduced the first song off the first album and one that had the powers that be had read or listened to the lyrics would unquestionably have banned it ‘Upstairs’ sounded fresh and vibrant like it could have been recently written never mind recorded in nineteen eighty-three! Rizzo thumped his bass like a good un and the band sounded so locked in and tight and to bring the main set to a dignified ending ‘Desire’ was aired.
With the clock showing almost half eleven it was good to be out on a school night at a late one and it was great to hear ‘Always A Flame’ from the ‘Immigrant’ album before the inevitable curtain closer of ‘Motion Of Love’ and then it was done Gene Loves Jezebel were off into the cold night air after delivering a most excellent set of old and new and doing it with a smile and like a band that gave a shit about what they were playing and how they delivered it. Let’s hope it’s not another decade before we get to do this all again Gene Loves Jezebel I salute you that was most excellent. If you read this Jay you sent a couple of us back over the bridge with big smiles hoping next time there is a date closer to the green green grass of home – Diolch yn Fawr yawn I chi
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