Getting over the bridge seems to be hit or miss these days with it being shut what seems like every other day Jay should bring the band back to its roots and when it was moved from The Louisiana to the Exchange, maybe Le Pub in The ‘Port would have been better seeing as there were more people from South Wales in attendance than Bristolians. Anyway, I digress.  After getting this Fortieth Anniversary tour underway in the very worst possible way by having their van nicked, all the gear and merch, it seemed the Gods were out to test the band’s resolve. Judging by tonight’s evidence it would seem nothing was going to stop the fearsome foursome from delivering the goods – not Covid, not venue changes, not van stealing, not chest infections, not nothing, nada, nowt!

Jay seemed particularly chatty and the band sounded relaxed and enjoying being out amongst it.  James and Smiley had only just jumped off the Alarm Tour and hopped on this quick rattle around the UK before heading stateside.  They were battle-ready and had warmed up and had something of a pre-season if you like. Jay wearing a splendid new shirt for the night made his apology about his vocal challenges but it wasn’t needed, the sound was excellent in the venue which has had a couple of upgrades post lockdown which will serve them well.

Getting proceedings underway with a crystal clear and well oiled ’20 Killer Hurts’ From the “Big Commercial  Breakthrough” album ‘The House Of Dolls’ they then went deep with a track off Jay’s solo album ‘Unpopular Songs’ that appeared on ‘VII’ A really underrated song from a really good album (both the solo and ‘VII’). It was also good to hear ‘World Gone Crazy’ dedicated to what’s going on in Eastern Europe from the ‘Dancing Underwater’ album. As I said earlier Jay was on form tonight, indulging in banter with members of the audience and his bandmates it made for a more intimate and warm evening’s entertainment.  ‘Cow’, was excellent and somber and fittingly dedicated to the people of Ukraine. Their first ever single ‘Bruises’, rubbed shoulders with the more commercial ‘Break The Chains’ where with some fine fretwork from messers Stevenson and Risso the band jammed out the songs as much for their own enjoyment it seemed with Pete Rizzo and Smiley locking in really well. You could be forgiven for thinking they’d been a cohesive solid unit for the 40 years.

In a shorter set than last time they were in this City over in the Fleece, what seems like a lifetime ago now it was wonderful to hear ‘Motion Of Love’ which as you’d expect went down really well all around the venue as people began to warm up and then we had the fake encore, rather than mover through the audience to go upstairs and then come back down it was an encore/no encore where the band played a really impressive ‘Steven’ before signing off with ‘Desire’.  Another flawless set of songs old and new played by a band who clearly love their art and deliver it in spades every time even under the most difficult of circumstances.  As we made the journey home it wasn’t long before we wondered why they didn’t play this and that and hopefully next time they will. 

Another night out watching some top-notch Goth ‘n’ Roll that’s been almost two years in the waiting didn’t disappoint.

In a week where I’ve seen The Mission, Salvation, Rose Of Avalanche, The Alarm, and now Gene Loves Jezebel is it really 2022?  Good times until next time.

Author: Dom Daley