JEALOUS AT THE ACADEMY
Review by Graham Williamson
Photos by Emma Short
The Academy 3 at the top of the stairs holds fond memories for me personally. I remember seeing Brian Molko's Placebo blow the place apart in 1997 before they hit the big time. I remember the much hyped first Manchester gig by The Strokes there in 2000. I paid £40 for a £7 ticket such was the demand for people to get into that one.
I like the fact that the bar is within close proximity to the stage. I was that wellied at The Strokes' gig that I invaded the stage and had to be removed by security. Luckily for me they didn't eject me from the building and I was allowed back in the crowd to enjoy the rest of the evening with New York's finest. But tonight, grey, older, wiser and sober I order a bottle of spring water and wait for Jealous to take the stage.
Jealous are part of the support to Manc band The Logicals and are due on the early slot, so I'm under no illusions that the place will be packed to the rafters. Christmas looming, people out of work and students putting their energy into the well documented tuition fee protests, this is not an ideal time for bands to be playing gigs.
Owing to the stringent curfew rules, the Salford gang enter the stage bang on time and open with new song 1,3,6 which starts with the repeat line 'Beautiful music for beautiful people'. There's a definite Who feel to this track, name checking Elvis and The Rolling Stones in the lyrics.
Next up front man Jay introduces his 'very good friend Mr Andy Bea', to which the lead guitarist responds by treating us all to the opening riffs of the power pop big hitter Stardust. In the song Jay tells us all his girls use peroxide, and adopts the escapist theme of living for today and not tomorrow. This is the track that got the attention of American record label bosses and it's not hard to see why. Very radio friendly and strong on melody. And let's not forget that this crew have played dates in the States and also done festivals in Japan.
Two songs in and going well, until disaster nearly strikes, as young drummer Lewis O'Niel snaps his drumstick and has none spare. Luckily he's bailed out by fellow Salford band Echodeck, who throw him one of theirs. No time wasted and it's into another Jealous favourite Between the Streets and the Stars.
The song's slow build up is uncannily reminiscent of The Doors' Light my Fire, but picks up pace with the threat 'Tell me what you wanna do, I can throw it back at you – Yeah!'…followed by the chorus, where we're invited to `watch the sunrise in its glow and leave our problems behind'. It leans heavily on the escapism subject again. And it's what we need in these times of austerity, war and endless reels of gloom news.
Thank God there's people out there who still want a good time. I'm having a good time tonight because the band is having a good time and suck you into their fiesta. It's all good, everyone's buzzing and the bar staff are redundant. We get treated to another newie and introduced to new guitarist, the Robert Plant haired Sam Caddick, to add a bit of psychedelia to the mix.
Lead singer, Jay, carries a curious stage persona, where one second it's the tongue in cheek arched back five-nights-in-Las-Vegas crooner pose, then the next it's a Bobby Gillespie simultaneous hand clap foot stamp manoeuvre… And he's loving it. And everyone watching is loving it. It's not reinventing the wheel or trying to change the laws of physics. It's a simple template that works. A tight rhythm section, a lead guitarist who can play and a photogenic lead singer who can hold a crowd. This formula will carry on until people stop wanting to be entertained. Simple as that.
Then we get the big one. Anyone in the Jealous Facebook community will be familiar with the collage of Wayne Rooney goals that visually accompanies the rock monster We Love You. A Townsend inspired mammoth of a song. Perfect end to a perfect night.
A special mention to the towering Jealous bass player Keith Whitehead who has fought back from serious illness to get himself match fit. He tells me backstage that the album will be out in January `when Yves (producer) gets back from touring with I Am Kloot'. Simple message.....Buy it! And see Jealous live where you can.