What a difference a year makes. Although regularly packing out the 100 Club, when Saint Jude last played the Scala in London's Kings Cross in August 2010 there were no more than fifty people in attendance. Tonight the venue is sold out and with a bulging guest list we are so packed it is like standing in between Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks on the tube at the height of rush hour.
Sensibly, before squeezing my way through, I went back to the bar, ordered a bottle of wine and gradually made my way through to the side of the stage and overlooked the side wall adjacent to the smoking area where I remained for the evening peeping over the wall. I must have looked like Chad to those on the floor although I didn't get my marker pen out and write 'Taylor was here' (what a kilroy?)
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Saint Jude have undertaken a little four date tour of Blighty after winning many new fans around the country with plenty of festival appearances this year, including a shining performance in the sun at this year's High Voltage Festival.
And Classic Rock Magazine recently gave away the Saint Jude debut album 'Diary Of A Soul Fiend' to it's readers, raising the profile of the band to a high new level.
It's not just the music of Saint Jude that brings the punters in. Down the front is predominantly male, hoping to catch the eye of Lynne Jackaman, the Christmas cracker who has the voice of a rock 'n roll angel.
Since they last played here there have been a couple of new faces added to the band in new guitarist Ivor Simms and Joe Glossop, tinkling away on the Joanna. Both have firmly established themselves in the line-up.
The tour has paid some dividends with the band playing tighter than ever before with many cool hooks thrown in by the bearded Marcus Bonfanti.
'Little Queen' starts off the party and straight away Saint Jude are playing maximum rock 'n soul as if it's a brand new concept.
Many may say that their influences are from the other side of the pond but the band have a distinctive British sound. Before 'Leave A Light On' Lynne asks: "Is anyone seeing Saint Jude for the first time tonight?" After a loud response she playfully states: "So we have many Saint Jude virgins here tonight? We're gonna have some fun with you."
Lynne puts her heart and soul into the ballad 'Angel' and by the end you couldn't hear a pin drop from an audience captivated by this beautiful song.
New numbers 'Black Rum And White Lies' and 'Layhee' show plenty of promise for that all important second album with the former being a real grower. A rocking 'Soul On Fire' ended the main set that flew by all too quickly.
A great night to end what has been a busy year for the band. With new management behind them, there is no looking back for Saint Jude who have put 100% dedication into their art and those efforts are finally starting to pay off. It is time to raise the flag because Great Britain has a new rock band to be proud of.
Garden Of Eden
Pleased To Meet You
Leave A Light On
Down And Out
In My Head
Black Rum And White Lies
Soul On Fire