JIM JONES ALL STARS + THE PEARL HARTS – THE CON CLUB, LEWES 21.10.23 (More photos HERE)
The UK is currently being hit by a bit of a wet and cold snap at the moment, in the form of Storm Babet. You could say that Autumn had unceremoniously stepped in with its big size nines, stomping all over the remains of our beloved late summer in its wake. Various parts of the country have been issued with a ‘Red Warning’ this weekend, but tonight, Sussex was given an official ‘High Octane Dirty Rock ‘n’ Roll Warning’ that was not to be taken lightly. It was time to put my Hi-Vis on over my faux leather jacket and don my protective brothel creepers for this potential explosive performance from the ‘Jim Jones All Stars’ at the Lewes Con Club tonight, courtesy of ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ promoters.
James ‘Jim’ Jones has fronted many bands over the years and is quite often referred to as the Godfather of Garage Rock ‘n’ Roll. I remember seeing his first band, Thee Hypnotics at Reading Festival way back in 1990, sharing the stage with the likes of The Fall and The Pixies. They were signed to the legendary Sub Pop label at one point (as well as Beggars Banquet Records) and also toured with 1977 Punk legends, The Damned. Jim Jones (not the tyrannical preacher of course) also got asked to front Lords Of The New Church which I think you’ll agree, is quite the accolade. They toured the States with Smashing Pumpkins as support, and toured with The Black Crowes too. Since then, Jim Jones has been involved with many bands including most notably, the renowned ‘Jim Jones Revue’ who have extensively toured and recorded over the years as well as at one point, appearing on the David Letterman show. When that band dissolved in 2014, ‘Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind’ rose from the ashes and ploughed a similar furrow in the Garage Rock world.
‘Jim Jones All Stars’ were born out of the Covid lockdown and feature members of the ‘Jim Jones Revue’, as well as other musicians from other bands around Europe.
They are currently promoting their new album, ‘Ain’t No Peril’ which was unleashed to the public on September the 29th of this year (my birthday!). It has so far received worldwide rave reviews and was even Louder Than War’s album of the week. The band are currently on a 17 date tour of the UK (of which Lewes is the 4th) followed by many dates in Europe. On the band’s London leg of the tour (Walthamstow), even Chris Robinson from The Black Crowes showed up to lend his vocals to their rendition of a Little Richard song (‘Slippin’ and Slidin’’).
After completing our local ale supping research in The Brewers Arms opposite the venue, we hot footed it to the Con Club in time to witness the support act, who we will discuss shortly.
After a short visit to the venue’s excellent beer garden, we walked back into the performance room to witness a bigger crowd assembled in anticipation for the main event tonight. 9pm signalled show time for the headliners and before we knew it, Jim Jones and his All Stars began to fill up the stage as they assumed their positions. They are a nine piece band so every inch of that stage was to be put to good use.
They quickly launched into the swamp blues the band are known for in the form of ‘Cement Mixer’ (a Jim Jones Revue song) which duly informed the crowd that they were taking no prisoners tonight. The sweat was already dripping off the band members by the time they kicked into song three, ’Gimme The Grease’ which is the lead off single from their new ‘Ain’t No Peril’ album. This particular maraca heavy song is really catchy I might add, and has a big funky feel to it. By the time they got to the song ‘Run Run Run’ (originally by Velvet Underground), they had the crowd eating out of their hands, (including me), as they got the audience to sing along to the chorus in the breakdown section of the song.
Jim Jones is a great frontman and has got an excellent soulful/bluesy voice which at times sounds almost effortless. The whole band were indeed using the whole stage tonight as they threw themselves around it, owning it as I imagine the panther would, depicted on their latest album cover. Carlton Mounsher laid down some solid riffs alongside Jim Jones himself, as the bassist (Gavin Jay) hurled himself off the drum riser. Keyboardist Elliot Mortimer was tucked away to the right hand side of the stage but you couldn’t miss the sounds he was making, completing that huge sound the band were emitting from the speakers on this hot and sweaty Saturday evening. And, how can you not mention the three way Sax attack of a horn section, who were totally relentless (One of them even walked amongst the crowd as he played).
Midway through the set they played Righteous Mind’s ‘Satan’s Got A Hard On For You’ and the excellent ‘Voodoo Working’ which whipped up a sweat amongst the audience and the band. They also did a Jimmy Castor Bunch cover in the form of ‘Troglodyte’ which was nice to hear and ended the set with a song by Thee Hypnotics (from where it all began) called ‘Shakedown’. No sooner had we got our collective breaths back, they performed a Jim Jones Revue tune by the name of ‘512’ as an encore which went down a storm (Babet).
I had never seen the Jim Jones All Stars before today (or The Jim Jones Revue, come to that) but I’m very glad I did. They are a class act and masters of their own adrenaline fuelled style (What’s not to like?). They play down and dirty Rock ‘n’ Roll but I also detect old school rhythm and blues (Mitch Ryder maybe?) along with a big dose of Soul, which I haven’t witnessed energy-wise, since seeing Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings at The Dome in Brighton many years ago. Jim Jones All Stars I can safely say, are a force to be reckoned with, and they are sometimes almost exhausting to watch (in a good way). I always like an excuse to visit Lewes and its Con Club, but this has got to go down as one of my favourite gigs of the year. It is Saturday night music to blast away a storm to, and to remind you that even if it’s just for tonight, there really ‘Ain’t No Peril’.
Jim Jones All Stars:
Jim Jones– vocals/guitar
Gavin Jay – bass (Revue member)
Elliot Mortimer – piano/keys (Revue member)
Carlton Mounsher – guitar (The Swamps member)
Chris Ellul – drums (The Heavy member)
Ali Jones – backing singer
Stuart Dace – sax
Chuchi Malapersona – sax
Tom Hodges – sax
Jim Jones All Stars setlist:
‘Cement Mixer’ (Jim Jones Revue cover)
‘When You See Me Hurt’ (Carl Lester-El cover)
‘Gimme The Grease’
‘Burning Your House Down’ (Jim Jones Revue cover)
‘Parchman Farm Blues’ (Bukka White cover)
‘Can’t Believe You Wanna Leave’ (Little Richard cover)
‘Run Run Run’ (Velvet Underground cover)
‘Satan’s Got A Hard On For You’ (Righteous Mind cover)
‘Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey’ (The Beatles cover)
‘It’s Your Voodoo Working’ (Charles Sheffield cover)
‘I Want You (Any Way I Can)’
‘Troglodyte’ (Jimmy Castor Bunch cover)
‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Psychosis’ (Jim Jones Revue cover)
‘Princess & The Frog’ (Jim Jones Revue cover)
‘Shakedown’ (Thee Hypnotics cover)
‘512’ (Jim Jones Revue cover)
Support for this evening’s concert was South London’s very own ‘The Pearl Harts’ who are a two piece rock/blues band who have been accompanying the ‘Jim Jones All Stars’ on various dates of this tour. They are no strangers to a big crowd it seems, as they have previously toured with ‘Garbage’ (2016) and their drummer has even appeared onstage with film soundtrack supremo, Hans Zimmer.
Tonight they started their set with a song called ‘Black Blood’ and it was soon evident that they make a very big noise for a two piece band. Kirsty was rocking out on guitar with a plethora of effects pedals at her feet and lightning strike emblem on her guitar strap. The band were giving it their all and were clearly very good at the craft of bluesy rock ‘n’ roll. The White Stripes are probably a lazy comparison (The Pearl Harts are much better) but I also detected notes of Joan Jett and maybe a modern day Suzi Quattro vibe and attitude to their song delivery, and I wasn’t about to argue with that. The drummer (Sara) was a blur of hair and arms for much of the set and she hit those drums like she meant it. They ended their set with a tune called ‘Hurt’, before departing the stage to a warm reception from the crowd.
The Pearl Harts:
Kirsty Lowery – vocals/guitar
Sara Leigh – drums/vocals
The Pearl Harts setlist:
‘Pullin’ My Brain Out’