Monday, 18 April 2016

Gig Review: Jake & The Jellyfish at The Monarch 15/4/16 (by Emma Prew)

When Jake & The Jellyfish announced that they would be playing a free show at Camden’s The Monarch pub I didn’t hesitate to put it in my [metaphorical] diary. Despite being a week before Manchester Punk Festival, where they are high on my list of bands to see, I was keen to see them in London as well. Of course, Colin came along too – he’s the one who introduced me to the band last year.

The band were supported by a, and I quote, ‘rock ’n’ roll’ trio called No Sugar. It was an odd choice of support act and far from what I’m used to. The guitarist was clearly very skilled but after a couple of songs with intense guitar parts, I got a bit bored. To be honest it kind of felt like two separate gigs!

So anyway, on with the band we actually wanted to see! Jake, singer and acoustic guitarist of the band – with some of the longest dreadlocks I’ve ever seen – expressed how happy they were to be playing in London, having not played for a while and the enthusiasm was soon showing in their performance.

Jake & The Jellyfish are a band that aren’t afraid to mix up lots of different styles of music into one. Ranging from folk, ska, reggae and punk, a Jake & The Jellyfish setlist is a varied one. They started their set with Richard on electric guitar but it wasn’t long before he put the guitar down and took up the violin. I love all of a Jake & The Jellyfish live performance but, personally, I think they are at their best when they are embracing the more folky and lively side of their music. We’d spotted a familiar face holding an accordion earlier and recognised him as being Joe from Will Tun And The Wasters. He joined the band on stage and was a great addition to their live sound (actually, I think he’s the accordion player on record too!). Although we did note afterwards that it was a shame there was no trombone for Coffee Tally – although maybe Bobble from Faintest Idea will join them at MPF.

They played a number of songs from their first album, Credit Cards & Overdrafts; Tunnel Vision, Rise and Shine, Black, White & Grey and Dotted Line, plus many from last year’s Dead Weight; Coffee Tally, Don’t Follow The Leader, 23 and Homesick. And, as I’d seen them do last year in Bristol, they joined us in the crowd for the last song of their set – an unplugged version of Hypocrites. There was some talking in other parts of the pub but Jake’s voice managed to carry loud and clear, even without a microphone. There was even some crowd participation for the ‘woah-oh-oh’s at the end. Awesome.

If you’re at Manchester Punk Festival this weekend I highly recommend that you get down early to see Jake & The Jellyfish who are opening the Zombie Shack stage on Saturday. You can also catch them on tour with Faintest Idea next month!