HDIF night at Jamm
How Does It Feel To Be Loved is a night that I’d not heard of so, with four interesting sounding bands playing for free, I thought it would be rude not to pay Jamm a visit. The first band on were called Tracey’s Love and they played to a small starter audience. Three timid-looking guys came on stage: a drummer, 2 guitarists and one of them was the vocalist. They seemed pretty timid and as they started it was clear their timidness seems to eek into their music. Their music is a sort of indie/pop with hints of Morrissey here and there. Second to third song into their set they got more into their stride and I’m Free has a great guitar solo to start it off.
One slight problem started to become apparent, which was that the singer kept wavering off the notes and went flat at least a couple of times. Now I’m all for a bit of outside-the-box-type music with adventurous unexpected leaps, but sadly these leaps into flat territory started to become uncomfortably regular. Morrissey influences were clear, but his voice lacks smoothness or direction. My favorite song from the set was Girl With Amsterdam Eyes, It’s both quite funny and sad, it details a guy who falls for the girl that nearly runs him over on his bike. ‘She almost knocked me over on her bike. All I saw were her bike clips and her thigh’!
I think what this band are aiming for is a nostalgic style, which they hit in terms of intentions and occasional lyrics, but the vocals, unfortunately, just weren’t up to scratch. It seemed as though they really needed to sharpen up. The singer said ‘We’ve only been together three months so please be kind’ fair enough, three months isn’t a long time, but I do wonder whether it’s simply a case of practice makes perfect.
The Werewandas were up next. These guys/gals are a five piece: drummer, guitarist, vocalist and two blokes on the double bass and guitar. As soon as they walked on stage there was an instant energy that totally sucked you in. Their music is a mix of 50s Rock ‘n’ Roll, Country with splashes of Blues here and there. My Hair Is A Mess and Dig My Grave both deliver a gutsy sound and almost impossible not to move to. Not only is the band tight but they are just so great to watch, mainly because of the way the vocalist sings. She is so incredibly expressive and her eyes and facial expressions tell the story. The last song was so energetic and the guy on the double bass did a full-on Jack Lemon-esque swing round of this double bass! This band are exciting and are confident and just totally entertaining (one song included the batman theme hook!) Most of the Werewandas are from other bands, but if this set was anything to go by, I hope they stay put!
I was especially looking forward to the next band, for one reason and one reason only…its name: Moustaches of Insanity. Two guys with beaming smiles on stage – one on the guitar and the other on the keyboard. Their set began with a really funny recording of a posh woman saying hello to Brixton and hoping that we’d enjoy their set, finishing with a well-pronounced ‘FUCK YEAH!’ I knew this was going to be an amusing set to say the least. Their music, which is indie/pop with keyboard melodies galore, is like a naïve teenager’s soundtrack. They laughed together a lot on stage and about three times forget the words, but for some reason it didn’t really matter! I started to get the sneaking suspicion they may have had one too many ales before playing. Their song Email is like a 21st Century love song about them trying to cheer up their girlfriend by sending a an email with a cute animal picture attached. It is, like them, goofy but really entertaining. I’m Writing Postcards To Strangers is probably the most endearing stalking-strangers song – scrap that, it’s the only stalking strangers song – I’ve heard (Let me know if you think of any others).
My favorite song of the set was Cheese and Freckles (lets face it – two pretty fantastic things). It’s a sort of childlike love song which includes: How cheese gives you nightmares, being in the sun without cream can be bad but the sun gives you freckles. ‘Cheese and Freckles is all that matters, let’s forget the consequences’ and ‘CHEESE AND FRECKLES’ is then repeated and harmonised for ages. As their set finished I had a big grin on my face and wished we
And so the last band of the night were Stars of Aviation. They are a nine piece which include keyboard, recorder, bassoon, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, trumpet & drums. These guys reminded me very much of an English folkier Kings Of Convenience. Quite a few of their songs include an accordion which gives their sound a nice French feel to it and trumpet and bassoon also add something extra to their music. Nice – that’s a word I’d use quite a lot for this band. They are nice; nice people and music and banter. But, unlike at least two of the bands on the night, they’ve been together a momentous 10 years. This is impressive indeed, but you get the feeling it impresses them quite a lot too. Their music was enjoyable and the band is tight, but it did feel at times a little lackluster. There were occasional bursts of fantastic music, but it was only ever occasional. There was one song I thought was great, which was All Quiet On The Western Front; it’s a beautiful war love song, which is shared between the male and female vocalists. It’s simple and had real integrity to it. Last song was By The Shore, which is on their new EP. It’s jaunty and sweet and would be a nice song to include on a summer playlist. (There I go again with the N word). I did enjoy their set and the band is undoubtedly talented, but I just felt that their sound was a little repetitive and needs more than the occasional blast of energy to give it character.