LIVE: Jettblack album launch + Meansteed, Barbe-Q-Barbies, Night by Night The Borderline, London 30/05/2012
So those nice boys from High Wycombe, Jettblack, have released their second album (it only seems five minutes since the first one!), and they chose a mild (if slightly soggy) Wednesday evening in May to throw an album launch party – and what a party it was! The Borderline was a complete sell out and the crowd revelled in the highest of spirits all evening. There was a great buzz of excitement surrounding the release of the album; ‘Raining Rock’, and various cast and crew members from the recently released video of the album’s title track were to be seen milling around the venue. A few of the more notable props featured in the evening too, giving the whole thing a real sense of occasion.
Doors opened at 18:30 and London-based five-piece ‘Night by Night’ were first onstage. Their distinguished brand of captivating melodic metal was a definite crowd pleaser. Impassioned guitarist Ben Christo is a treat to watch and frontman Dan fills the between-songs interludes with banter and anecdotes. Night by Night belt out its hook-sodden tracks and 80s-esque harmonies with a great energy. As the set neared its end, there was slight confusion over whether the band had time for one more song, but unfortunately it was not to be and at this realisation, the crowd’s spirits dipped with disappointment before a wonderful chorus of elevated applause and cheers rippled through the venue.
Next up was all-female Finnish ensemble ‘Barbe-Q-Barbies’ who took to the stage only about 20 minutes after arriving at the venue and were thus minus a sound-check. It mattered not, though, as the crowd loved their injection of lively, fun-loving rock n roll. This band puts me very much in mind of the long-since disbanded ‘Young Heart Attack’, those high-energy female-fronted Texans who once toured with The Darkness. This is no bad thing; gritty guitars, strong vocals, and effortless hooks reign supreme with Barbe-Q-Barbies, and their blatant enjoyment of being on stage shines through. Singer Niki connects easily with the audience, endearing the band to the crowd and ensuring everyone has a good time.
Main support was provided by the mighty Meansteed, of whom I was not previously aware but am now most certainly a fan. Since the gig I have listened to some of their tracks online, and whilst they are not exactly disappointing, it’s clear that this band is a live band. Their set was electric and all-consuming, fun-filled and seriously rock n roll. The highlight, though, without a doubt, was frontman Matt’s crowd pleasing antics of suddenly appearing atop the bar, the full length of which he travelled whilst headbanging and commanding his guitar with faultless precision. There could have been no better way to get the crowd warmed up to the point of elation in readiness for the adored headliners.
From the moment Jettblack took to the stage to the moment their set ended, the whole venue was putty in their hands. Even stretching to the back of the room, people were hollering the lyrics at the top of their lungs and wrapping convivial arms around one another’s shoulders as they danced and bounced to the music. Jettblack’s high voltage energy on stage is truly marvellous, they essentially just have a party on stage, and the more people who throw themselves into it, the better. As they segued into the title track of their debut album ‘Get Your Hands Dirty’ (released in 2010), we were encouraged to go crazy, and told “If you don’t know the words, you’re watching the wrong fucking band!”, and as the first few notes tore through the Borderline, the crowd did indeed go crazy. Moshpits swirled manically at the front of the crowd and the general air of glee that had been hovering throughout the place was stepped up a notch. The band treated the crowd to a four song encore, kicked off by the title track of their new album, the mighty ‘Raining Rock’, which was received with palpable elation, and the set was brought to an end with their trademark show closer; a virtuous cover of the Top Gun classic ‘Danger Zone’ – the perfect way to end a brilliant night of classic rock n roll.
Top image courtesy of Christeeny at christeeny.com, other images and all words by Louise Delahunty.