Jumping Hot Club
8th September 2015
Very few JHC gigs get as much fevered excitement before and after a gig via Social Media as this one. As someone who received hate mail for giving a less than flattering review to a Richmond Fontaine album; I’m well aware the effect Willy Vlautin who is in both beat combos has on his fan base; but even I wasn’t prepared for the almost religious fervour that permeated the packed basement of Cluny II tonight.
The queue on the stairs meant I missed Paul Handyside’s opening three songs; but presume they were as razor sharp as the 6 songs I did witness.
One time popstar in the hugely under rated Hurrah! Paul actually appeared on TOTP ‘back in the day’ and I can only tell you his songs and stage presence haven’t diminished one tiny bit in the intervening years.
Alongside long term guitarist and mate Rob Tickell the duo showcased some really sharp agit-folk (?) songs from a new album, to be released soon. Of those, Let Me Down Easy was lovely; full of intricately subtle guitar runs from Paul and Rob alongside some gorgeous harmonies. Unusually Paul was aided and abetted by an excellent double bassist; and the extra oomph that instrument gave my favourite song of his, Wayward Son made it sound even more exceptional than usual.
Eavesdropping; as I’m prone to do, I overheard a group of fellas discussing the support act; describing Paul as ‘an authentic Richard Hawley’ which I though was a ‘fair comment.’
When The Delines appeared out of the shadows a couple of years ago most people presumed it to be a vanity vehicle for band leader Willy Vlautin; but the success of their debut album Colfax and subsequent critically acclaimed live concerts has taken the critics and fan by surprise.
As I said earlier; I’m not a fan of Vlautin’s back catalogue so gave the album and a couple of gigs a swerve; but enough people whom I respect twisted my arm into attending tonight.
I had a completely open mind when the band filtered onto the stage with Vlautin and the bass player looking like they were wearing their father’s suits; but when singer Amy Boone began crooning opening song, the slow and moody He Don’t Burn Me; my knees went weak and my lips broke into a silly smile when the keyboard player began playing a trumpet a’ la Chet Baker, while tinkling the ivories with the other hand. Class act.
What had I been missing?
Following generous applause (this crowd were far too cool for any histrionics) Amy introduced the title track from their album Colfax. Again the band kept a tight and restrained signature as the young lady poured her heart and soul out; in a way I’ve not heard nor seen since I first encountered Adele.
Normally at a JHC gig I have the front of the stage area to myself to take photos; but tonight the packed crowd were jammed inches away from the band and weren’t giving an inch; meaning I was banished to the balcony; which itself was packed to the gunwales.
Amy Boone looked like she was having the time of her life all evening; flicking ‘knowing smiles’ at the other band members in between songs.
Alongside Colfax tracks the Delines ‘road tested’ a couple of newbies tonight (some were available on a Tour EP) and the best and my favourite was RSVP Us; which not only a beautifully constructed song but they dedicated it to JHC Supremo Graham Anderson who had booked them 18 months previously for their first ever UK gig.
Another new song (I think) had Amy playing the piano while the trumpet player, Cory serenaded her with a Mexicali meets Coronation Street tune; while the other three, gazed at their feet and made magic come out of their guitars and drums.
What a band! The sound they create is nearly indescribable; as the songs are very deep and dark played out to Vlautin’s almost lazy; but always scintillating guitar style and Amy’s gorgeous voice (a raw Dusty or a smooth Janis? You decide) and I eventually scribbled Country-Jazz; which isn’t a million miles wrong.
I thoroughly enjoyed the night; and the following day the Jumping Hot Club Twitter and Facebook pages were filled with superlatives and hyperbole from what seemed like every person in the room.
The Delines – one for the future 🙂