Coventry Empire, Friday 12th October 2018
In November these three lads from Swansea will set out headlining on their ‘Alive’ tour and they are not to be missed. Their show is as aggressive and energetic at anyone might expect but with an unusual spoken word twist which may be hard to understand how it fits into the show until you see them live. Tonight, Sherlocks picked this pocket in the Midlands for their headline gig. On a warm October evening, Empire was the scene and the support from Trampolene.
Up first were the excellent Only Shadows who warmed up the crown nicely, excitement builds for the South Wales trio. The music and lights suddenly die, Jacks croaky Welsh voice summons in the form of the spoken word poem ‘Artwork Of Youth’, a poem about Jack’s school life and apparently all true. Rob, Jack and Wayne appear onto the stage, Jack meandering his way on in his typically relaxed fashion, wearing a black roll neck and hair that looked like he’d just rode here on his bike. He takes to the mic and compliments the local takeaway on a ‘lovely shish kebab’ and promising that the owner will give everyone a free one after the gig. Wasting no time band then rips into the first song, the electrifying It’s Not Rock and Roll. The intention is clear as the band motor their way through the first three songs creating a raucous wall of noise, Waynes bass a fizzing backbone while Jack strains at the mic strangling his taped up Fender Strat, that these boys want to rock, and the energy is infectious.
In the quiet between songs chants of ‘KETAMINE!’ arise from the audience keen to hear Jacks most well-known poem about the class B drug. This is always one of the most popular moments in the set with the audience mirroring every word of the poem to Jack. It’s a very gutsy move to bring the spoken word into a rock and roll set but Jacks delivery suits it perfectly and it really works.
Jack, amongst the ketamine chants from a few of the crowd members, then delicately begins Beautiful Pain, a track that builds all the way through. The band finish on a poignant note with an extended version of Storm Heaven which Jack says he ‘wrote for his grandad’. This featured a lengthy and emotive solo from Jack and was an impressive and immersive spectacle to watch. As the other members Rob and Wayne exit the stage, Jack closes the show with Poundland, a humorous poem about the high street pound shop. ‘Shabba do wah, Shabba do way, We love Poundland, Hip hip hooray.’
Trampolene offers a fresh and brave new format for a live performance, with Jack Jones undoubtedly the star of the show. His music and spoken word merge seamlessly into a magnificent live show which far more impressive than would seem on paper.