Monday 9 January 2012

The Night Jars and Oh! Gunquit at Old Blue Last - 7 January 2012

The Night Jars (photo: Ciaran Beale)

This is my first visit to the Old Blue Last in a while and I’m pleased to see that it has been refurbished and is heaving with a happy Saturday night crowd. This place used to be so er… basic in its facilities in days of yore that you needed a tetanus shot or a Hazmat suit before approaching the toilets. Now, it is very acceptable indeed.

Tonight’s gig is being promoted by the Hackney Working Girls Club and they have put on two fun bands for our delectation.

First up I’m delighted to renew my acquaintance with Oh! Gunquit, who are always fabulously entertaining with their twanging old time garage sound.

This four piece are die hard rock and rollers and have appropriately cool names. Dr Zoom blows up a storm on saxophone, and Sam Bam Leadfoot pounds on the drums. Vocals are shared between ace guitarist and general hep cat Manchine and Wanda Smacksome, who is tonight a vision in yellow and orange.

The infectious rhythms soon get the whole joint jumping like teenagers at a sock hop.

In truth, the sound tonight is not particularly good, and this hampers the vocals a bit, but such is the nature of the music that your ears fill in the gaps and you hear everything as you want it.

This set puts a huge smile on your face and it culminates with Wanda displaying her prowess with the hoola-hoop. This is an incredible feat as the physical effort required to hoola and sing at the same time is clearly tremendous.

I love Oh! Gunquit and would recommend them to fans of old style rock and fun times generally.

You can tell that The Night Jars are rock stars as soon as they climb onstage. The singer is going for the full Roger Daltrey, with tight curls, tight white T-shirt (tonight advertising the Sound of Music), braces and a pair of sprayed-on jeans that just need a rolled up sock down the front to complete the illusion.

Where The Night Jars differ from other bands is that they also wear black masks complete with long pointy black beaks, looking for all the world like medieval doctors during the time of the Black Death or revellers at a Venetian masked ball.

For a split second it appears as if we are going to get an attempt at the record held in this venue for the time it takes for a singer to leap off the stage and wave their private parts out the window. The current holders are another bird-related band An Albatross, who accomplished the feat in twenty seconds.

The Night Jars don’t quite manage this, but within one number the singer is off the stage and dancing within the crowd, rarely to be seen again for the rest of the evening.

At first, it seems that all is chaos, but the band soon coalesce into a fearsome garage punk outfit that are not as different from the preceding band as might have first been thought.

It’s a riotous, raucous set. You can’t really tell what the singer is bellowing, but it is hard not to get caught up in the primitive energy that he and his band mates are blasting out.

This has been a rollicking, roaring Saturday night. It’ll do for me. Well done Working Girls, well done Gunquit, well done Night Jars.

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Unknown said...

The Night Jars