There's been a serious buzz going on down the rock 'n' roll gossip wires about Saint Jude since the release of their album 'Diary Of A Soul Fiend' and with them playing one of my favourite haunts, The Borderline, I decided to get my backside down there and see what all the fuss was about. Boy was I not disappointed!
Without doubt, from the second they got into their groove on opener 'In My Head', the star of the show is sassy vocalist Lynne Jackaman. In more ways than one, the obvious comparisons to Janis Joplin will come thick and fast as this band get bigger, and believe me, they will.
The singing style, the colourful hippy chick clothing along with the 60s and 70s feel of the music, but there's so much more to this girl's epic voice.
As she starts into the Stonesesque 'Garden Of Eden', I could say there are hints of Joplin, Aretha Franklyn, Tina Turner, even a touch of Etta James in there but quite simply, her voice is unique. I haven't heard anyone belt out a tune like she does with such depth and strength in decades, and so completely belying her petite stature.
On we dance through the more bluesy 'Parallel Life', the harmonica led 'Sweet Melody' is awash with big chunky guitars and simmering keyboards as it grooves and funks along, the crowd swaying in rhythm to each beat. 'Angel' is just wonderful, Jackaman's voice soaring sweetly in after the Pink Floyd styled intro to this slow, soulful track that hits all the right spots, but very gently.
If the twirling, shimmying Jackaman is the lungs of this band, then the heart is the group of seriously tight and talented musicians surrounding her. Even playing on this tiny cramped stage and being limited to bouncing up and down instead of being able to rock out in some space like they're itching to, they don't miss a note through the whole fine performance.
The forthcoming debut single 'Soul On Fire' is a scorching up-tempo rocker, soaring vocals and tinkling keys rising over the heads of an enthralled crowd and barely a face in the packed crowd turned away from the band. 'Southern Belles' and 'Down This Road' swing happily into Americana territory and 'I'm Losing You' (The Temptations) brings the house down, rapturous applause bringing an end to a cracking show.
Saint Jude are going to be huge, there's no doubt about that. Their storming 70s influenced rock 'n' roll crosses all boundaries to appeal to young and old alike and if you can't catch them before, make sure you see them at the High Voltage festival this summer. They're going to be one of my highlights that weekend for sure.