Janice Graham Band live Wedgewood Rooms 11/02/2012

After a patient year of waiting, I finally get to see Janice Graham Band live.

It was at the beginning of 2011 that, whilst listening to the newly conceived ‘Modcast’- a 2 hour podcast of all things ‘Mod’ with guests who chat about the scene akin to evesdropping on a group of lads after the pub’s shut, minus the slurring (mostly)- that Acid Jazz label boss Eddie Piller played three new singles, one of these being ‘No Money Honey’ by new Manchester outfit Janice Graham Band. The track stood out, and a quick visit to their website, and the cd single was ordered.
It arrived and was a hand made affair- the band being unsigned, but it came as no surprise when they were signed to Acid Jazz, by none other than Eddie Piller.

This led to the band spreading out of their native Manchester to play at Alan McGee’s ‘Death Disco’ nights in London. The first release for Acid Jazz, the dub fuelled ‘Murder’ soon followed, this and the flip ‘Assassiner’, excited me even more than the first single, the trumpet, delays and more upfront dub basslines, were to me an almost perfect sound.

So, after a year of asking when they were playing near me, they hook up with Portsmouth based Mod ‘n’ Soul club night Hipshaker, to perform at The Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea.

It’s a late affair with the club opening at 9.30, indeed myself and my ever faithful gig buddy Claire are the first through the door.

And it remains this way for quite some time, with people dripping in slowly, and I’m a little concerned at the lack of people- it is chuffin’ cold out though!
The music being played is a rather excellent mix of all things cool 60’s style- Georgie Fame, Archie Bell, Phil Upchurch, The Sonics, Ernie K Doe, The Maytalls etc. All with a backdrop of vintage film, Vespa adverts, 1966 World Cup, Alfie, Italian Job, Performance, Small Faces, Animals- you know the stuff… Quality work, Hipshaker dudes!

The band finally come on around 11.30ish, and the floor is sparce with a mixture of Hipsters for the Hipshaker night, and fallout from pubs for some later drinking.
What was strange, however, that on leaving there was a ‘one out-one in’ policy being worked- those outside would have added to the atmosphere.

The band- looking very young- plug in and launch into ‘Front Door’ and their mix of funky drums, deep bass and trumpet soundscapes, this seems to get the crowd more interested than they at first thought, and when new single ‘No Money Honey’ is played, the ‘crowd’ starts to get a bit more energectic.
Frontman Joe’s Bass must be as big as he is- but he’s the master, the complex bass lines snake with ease from his fingers.

Second single ‘Murder’ is played, and now folk are funking. It has taking them very little time to warm up the crowd from such a cold start, and this has a lot to do with the mix of infectious grooves and Manc wit. It was someones birthday- ‘How old is he?’…..’Twelve you say?’
‘Murder’ is followed by its b side ‘Assassiner’- I think the two would sound great segued together- as the latter feels like a dub of the former.

A cavort through ‘Robbery’, and then we reach the climax- and the best is yet to come.
Marching/Carnival style drumming, whistles and cowbells! Now nothing gets the party rocking like a cowbell- it just adds extra energy that you didn’t think you had, I can see why the band have been compared to fellow Mancunians- A Certain Ratio. Everyone’s now in the party spirit- it is just a pity the room isn’t a little smaller, as the atmosphere would be electric.
They recently played to 1000 at the Ritz in Manchester, there are far fewer here- with little promotion word of mouth works in their own town, but not so much in places like Pompey- a lot of people are missing out, you can’t blame X Factor’s Got Talent all the time, but it has made an impact on peoples ability to think for themselves.

A great set from a band I want to see more of, and you should too. They are support for Inspiral Carpets on their tour in March.

Their debut album ‘It’s Not Me’ is out Feb 27th- or if you catch them live, you can get it at the gig. I did, vinyl- of course, and the band signed it for me. Thanks Lads.

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About Guarin

A lover of diverse music
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7 Responses to Janice Graham Band live Wedgewood Rooms 11/02/2012

  1. Kay says:

    Thanks for this Guarin. Love this band. Will try and catch them live.

  2. Dave Clark says:

    Hi

    Thanks for the positive stuff about Hipshaker in your review. Like you I’d have liked more people in before they came on stage but they played a great set nevertheless. Interestingly we had a bit of an influx of people around the time they finished so ended up with just under 300 in, it was one of our slowest filling nights for a while.

    Next month we have another recent signing to Acid Jazz, the Broken Vinyl Club. Wedgewoood Rooms, March 10th.

    thanks

    Dave (Hipshaker).

    • Guarin says:

      No worries, it was a good night- you also did one of the rooms at The Concord 2 in Brighton a couple of years ago, if I’m not mistaken. It seemed like there were a lot less people than there would be for a gig night there- are there different regs for club nights?
      Still, Broken Vinyl Club are pretty good too- hope the weather is a bit warmer then!

  3. Dave Clark says:

    Yes, we were on the bill that night in Brighton too. You’re right, that wasn’t very busy. I thought that was affected by location, a bit out of the way … but you might be right about the club night thing too. Not sure why, it usually makes for good value as you get a band/bands plus club. i guess the bands usually play later though which may put people off.

    and yes, the weather will hopefully be better next month too!

    • Guarin says:

      For me, bands on a club night is a great concept- but I know people who would rather have one or the other. Don’t know why. I do know that people who like soul nights would much rather listen to old wax rather than live music.
      The Brighton thing I’d say was a mixture of location- Hipshaker aren’t particularly known over there, it’s also a funny place, a bit ‘too cool for school’ at times, and it’s hard to see what will work. The New Untouchables lot do stuff around the August Bank Holiday- and that’s popular. I think the My Generation thing was possibly a weekend or two too late for the usual holiday crowd. A good night though- I met Mani!

      Portsmouth really has a Mod scene happening though, hasn’t it? I saw The Moons at The Cellars- and the supports were all local, and very Mod influenced. Despite Quadrophenia and all that- Brighton doesn’t seem to have that going on.

      Keep it up though, it’s a cracker of a night- and the music selection was spot on. Am I right in thinking you have an IOW contingent that would usually come to your nights?

  4. Dave Clark says:

    I think your right about the one or other for some people, we notice that a good chunk of our crowd are not there for the bands ….. another section there only for the bands, with some who like both. often the bands “win them over” if good enough.

    when we were at brighton, we were just a tiny part of the line-up ….. and in the second room. it was (aside from us – i wouldn’t be so bold to say we were pulling people in) actually a good DJ line-up for that sort of event. some very well respected DJs on the bill.

    I guess places like brighton will sometimes be hard to run nights in, i’m thinking there are quite a few venues and a lot on at any one time. i know a few people that have done and still do run nights there. the new untouchables thing is quite different i think, its a traditional “mod” thing the bank holiday and they bring a good proportion of their very loyal crowd in with them from all over. while thats on, we’re doing something broadly similar at the IOW Scooter Rally.

    Portsmouth does actually have a bit going on as you say, not so much “mod” in the strictest sense … but definitely a mod/scooter/ska crossover … a few bands, a few nights.

    we don’t actually have people that travel from the IOW for our regular nights i think, although we did in January because we had an IOW band playing. we did run bi-monthly nights on the island though, at Ryde Theatre until it closed down ….. pulled in anything between 400 – 600 each time. the IOW crowd were great.

    Thanks for the kind words again …. nice to hear people enjoying themselves. we like to mix the music up, its the sort of night we’d like to go to ourselves …… lots of genres but with a link to each other, mixing up big hits with lesser known stuff …. often bigger tunes the later we play to keep the dance floor full.

    • Guarin says:

      I met one of the IOW contingent at Brighton, so this is why I asked.
      And, yeah not strictly Mod, but a definite nod towards that territory- it can be a fickle scene too, it seems the Pompey lot are in it for all the right reasons. The mix you do is what I’m after, really, I like a bit of the obscure alongside the classics- and a little bit of ska/ rocksteady is wonderful. Thanks.

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