The Jim Jones Revue sure know how to get a joint rocking. The London-based rock’n’roll garage band, influenced by the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, The Sonics and MC5, are far from being just reverential revivalists, tearing up their 50s roots with raw power and tongue-in-cheek menace. Mid-way through an international tour to promote their recently released third studio album The Savage Heart (produced by Jim Sclavunos, drummer in Grinderman and The Bad Seeds), the Revue relish raising hell on their home turf.
Sideburned front man Jim Jones, soon discarding his studded black leather jacket to reveal a fancy waistcoat, is a live-wire presence, strutting and swaggering around the stage, while urging handclapping and thrusting forward the microphone for copycat chanting from the crowd. His gutsy, raucous vocals are punctured by the growls and screeches of a Nick Cave or Jon Spencer, while strafing, bequiffed lead guitarist Rupert Orton plants his legs wide apart and hoists up his guitar like Mick Jones. Sweat cascades from the forehead of boogie-woogie pianist Henri Herbert onto the keys, as mop-topped, bowler-hatted bassist Gavin Jay prances around, with demonic drummer Nick Jones just visible through a fog of dry ice.
The band’s entertaining 75-minute show showcases all the tracks from the new album (except, sadly, closer Midnight Oceans & The Savage Heart, whose gentler pace and more introspective tone would have made a nice variation). Highlights include a pulsating account of the threatening Never Let You Go, flagrantly egocentric current single It’s Gotta Be About Me, the rumbling barrelhouse-piano blues-gospel Chain Gang and the call and response 7 Times Around The Sun.
Earlier songs such as the inflammatory title track from previous album Burning Your House Down are also played full throttle, whilst in a rare slower moment during Righteous Wrong, Jones calls for everyone to quieten it down: “Imagine you’re a teenager having sex in your bedroom and you don’t want your mum to find out.” Encores include the relentless groove of new track In And Out Of Harm’s Way, which goes down a storm with the crowd following directions to “Shake your tail”, followed by old single Dishonest John, an open invitation to boogie. Judging by the amount of action in the mosh pit and beyond, it seems that the ferocious energy shown on stage is infectious. Job well done.