Live Review: Black Ju Ju, The Weavers, Aylesbury 26/05/13

Over the past two years Black Ju Ju have quietly gone about their business of loud music by performing in dingy pubs, empty clubs, Royal British Legion’s, ex-bondage parlours and the living hell that is Leighton Buzzard.  They have put in the hours and the result is a transformation from a transparent pub rock backing band to a finely-oiled, if not slightly battered, psyche rock Cadillac. ‘Yodellay’ kicks off their set at Aylesbury’s Weavers pub, a charming working class backwater where the band play at the bottom of a series of open-plan ‘levels’, amusingly resembling the Queen Vic by way of M.C. Escher.  New drummer Paul Standing’s talents are immediately noticeable from the off, his pounding rolls on the track demonstrating speed, power and accuracy.  Frontman and guitarist Thom Harris looks like a smartly dressed but slightly pissed off French academic.  He cruelly stalks his microphone in between the verses of ‘Time to Kill’ before punishing it with a bellowing torrent that resembles a heated exchange between Tom Waits, Gerry Roslie and a bear.

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‘Dole Rocket’ is performed at a speed and velocity that moves the pub’s pool balls and temporarily sends the equally sharply dressed bassist Jim Marvin into a head bobbing frenzy.  The tracks riff is reminiscent to Supergrass’ ‘Richard III’ but with a sleazy distortion more in line with say Bleach-era Nirvana or the Jesus Lizard.  ‘Waste Me’ and ‘Idle Child’ introduce the bands friend Lawrence Fernando on keys, slotting into the former like a psychedelic jigsaw by adding a subtle dreamy depth to its slower tempo.  On this performance Black Ju Ju have come a long way, but through passion and determination it has been the right way and they now have the set that will hopefully take them somewhere.

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