Gig Review – Jona Lewie – The Half Moon Putney – Tue 18 Nov 2014.
After much activity in the time streams this week I’m finally able to begin transmission of this current broadcast…
Whilst on a recent mission to study the historical development of the modern Loom and its inadvertent contribution to warp drive technology, something unusual occurred! At just around half past the industrial revolution, I found myself inexplicably transported to 21st Century London. Materialising near a Public House in Putney of a Tuesday evening…
That it turned out to be one of my favourite local music establishments, was a stroke of luck! As further luck would have it, I was transported here in time to catch a performance by none other than Jona Lewie.
I was rather hoping to catch Mr Lewie at the Poly Fest earlier this year (2014) in October but it wasn’t to be (probably yet another sugar tong misalignment!), so I was glad that tonight it was to be!
Upon entering the venue, I thought I’d once again been translocated, as this didn’t appear to be the Half Moon as I remembered. No, it was more reminiscent of say Ronnie Scots for example, with tables and chairs filling the space around the stage. As it happened, this turned out to be yet another stroke of luck because (as many of you temporal wanderers may be aware) all of this time travel has been catching up with me a bit of late. So it was most welcome to take the weight off me plates and relax for an evening’s entertainment.
And that’s exactly what we got.
I took a spare seat at one of the front tables where I joined some hard-core Brett Marvin and The Thunderbolts fans. The stage was set – with an Accordion, a Keyboard and a Drum kit…
Kicking off with the reggae-ish styling of Shaggy Raggy, followed with the Blues of Begging Woman, the sound was spot on. Jona himself put me in mind of a Loom operator, weaving sonic textures on his keyboard, all the while his foot keeping time with the invisible pedals. Each musical offering was interwoven with entertaining anecdotal threads which gave a consistency to the whole show. We heard tales from JL’s travels and musical adventures, while taking in such subjects as the Music Business, John Lennon and European politics (not too seriously though!). Leading nicely to the excellent Hallelujah Europa.
Weaving through – The boogie of Going Round The World, the super catchy/super tricky finger work of Heart Skips Beat, the instrumental Rearranging The Deckchairs on The Titanic, the poppy On The Road to the rockin’ I’m Ready.
Jona donned his accordion for a quick romp through Seaside Shuffle and an improv rendition of that Xmas song.
Back at The Keys for a blast through Beurocrats. The sound tonight was remarkably full for a duo, with JL’s Voice, Keyboard and Accordion in fine form. Skilfully backed up by his talented drummer Damo Waters’ superb/subtle percussive accompaniment and backing vocals.
At times there was a slight balance issue with the keyboards where the more electronic sounds had a very pronounced bass end which, when contrasted with the piano sound made it seem a little thin by comparison. Which is a minor issue really as overall the sound was superb.
Jona Lewie’s material and his presentation of it, is possessed of a quirky offbeat quality, with his unusual use of melody and vocal delivery. All of which still manages to sound fresh despite Mr Lewie’s years in the biz, it also makes perfect sense when viewed in light of his time at Stiff Records as part of the New Wave movement. Tonight we get a mix of styles from New Wave to Pop to Boogie to Rock and Roll and more besides. Alluding back to the aforementioned years in the biz, JL makes it all look really easy and comes across as one who really enjoys performing, both feeding off and genuinely grateful for the audience response.
After a short break (not much of a break for JL as it turns out he spent most of it talking with the audience), we were treated to Stop The Cavalry in full, including audience participation, I find this one of the few perennial Xmas hits that I actually enjoy listening to (along with fellow ex-Stiffers – The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl’s wonderful Fairytale of New York)! Followed by an impromptu history lesson leading on to Big Bill Broonzy’s Get Back. Exit Stage Left.
Of course we get the excellent You’ll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties. Which shows off JL’s keyboard skills nicely, I’d always thought that this was sequenced but it’s clearly almost all played live! Brilliant! And we danced in a new way with a super extended Jam to the musical section.
Then Shake, Rattle and Roll and it was all over.
A quick exit was made, what with it being a School night and there being a pile of homework to feed the dog etc etc EiTC…
More Weaving/Time crossover ideas that the dog ate: