It’s always the sign of a great show when a band deviates from the setlist to add an extra song to the encore, a sign of appreciation to an enthusiastic audience. When that song is the rarely played classic ‘Josephina’, it rounded off an astonishing performance by veteran gothic rockers, Gene Loves Jezebel.
Words and Pictures: Mick Burges
With Christmas dinner, piles of presents and multi-coloured streamers a long distant memory it was back to business as usual as Gene Loves Jezebel delivered a masterclass in showmanship, musicianship and style together with a fair few killer songs along the way.
Frontman Jay Aston twisted and gyrated like an apocalyptic mix of Jagger and Rose with a warm, expressive voice dripping in melancholic emotion which hit the sweet spot on the emotive ‘Why Can’t I?’.
Classics came thick and fast with opener ‘Twenty Killer Hurts’ setting the pace and ‘Bruises’ from their 1983 debut ‘Promises’ with its driving beat and pounding bass keeping their old fans more than happy.
While many bands that have been around for a fair few years are content to sit back on their legacy, Gene Loves Jezebel continue to push forward creatively and their recent ‘Dance Underwater’ album more than matches their output from the eighties with ‘Cry 4 U’ and ‘Flying (The Beautiful Blue)’ showing genuine class.
While much of the focus is on Aston, the rest of the band shine too. Guitarist James Stevenson has a pedigree that has seen him add his talents to Generation X, Chelsea, The Cult and The Alarm among others. His sharp, incisive, melodic riff to ‘Heartache’ and dark gothic tones on ‘Upstairs’ showed just why he is a guitarist in demand.
The adept bass work of Pete Rizzo and the dynamic groove of drummer Joel Patterson combined to perfection on the funky ‘Jealous’ and really displayed a band in complete sync with one another.
Of course, ‘Break The Chain’, ‘Desire (Come and Get It)’ and ‘The Motion Of Love’ sounded great, better in fact that their studio counterparts. The added punch and energy of a live setting took them to another level altogether and rewarded the crowd who had waited patiently for well over a decade for their return. It was well worth it.