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Review: Jp, Chrissie and The Fairground Boys Live!

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2010 by thenewserials

A Complex of Complexes and Perfect Perfections

Thank You For Ruling, New York City!

New York City

September 25th, 2010

Under the lavish bright lights of the Marquee that read ‘Irving Plaza’ small black letters meekly spell out the name of tonight’s act. ‘Jp, Chrissie and The Fairground Boys’ loads of New Yorkers walk by unawares of that exactly is going to happen tonight as they do every night.

‘Jp, Chrissie and the Fairground Boys?’  A women swimming, inebriated, in her own inebriation questions out-loud to herself. ‘Never heard of em”

And that’s the classic New York City anonymity coming in to play. It’s not unbelievable but, somewhat odd to think that Chrissie Hynde who has fronted one of the most enduring rock bands, The Pretenders, for over 30 years could be looked over so easily BUT, that starts the first major appeal of this band.

Fresh of the heels off a small tour playing just acoustic sets and the release of their first studio album ‘Fidelity!’ Jp Jones a Welsh born ‘Gypsy’, Chrissie Hynde and  lead Guitarist Patrick Murdoch are somewhat used to this grind with the songs at this point. Tonight, however, is going to be a new experience as NYC is going to be treated to the first performance with (most) of the band.

It should come to no surprise to anyone that this album is nothing less than amazing. Hynde who has put out consistently good work with the Pretenders and Jones who has been creating, writing and performing music for years have created a music child that can only be described as: ‘as close to perfection as humanely conceivable’.

If the mortal existence that human life exist in is an underling to a different world where the purest forms of every possible things exist, then ‘Fidelity’ is the skyline to the perfect city of music. It has everything one could ask for, great writing, great music, great voices and great production.

Jones/Hynde and the Fairground Boys pull no punches with this album, if its what they wanted to say they say it and do it in a way that you won’t forget. From Rockers to ballads to songs that simply fit into both and neither category, ‘Fidelity!’ is a revelation of the twilight that falls on a doomed relationship.

But enough of the obvious, with the technology today almost anyone could crank out a good sounding album, the real question is: Is it really them on the album, or when we hear them live are we going to hear something else? The test of any good band is how they sound live. Even if a studio album sounds horrific (which couldn’t be further from the truth about ‘Fidelity!’) the band could gel live and create a new life.

Anticipation over how ‘Fidelity!” would sound with an entire band was somewhat eased when the album was released. After hearing acoustic shows the album sounded perfect unplugged and an initial worry set in about how they would translate electrified but, it worked out better than one could have hoped for. Yet still, could they play live?

Marred by a dysfunctional Visa renewal system the Fairground boys were grounded overseas as Jones/Hynde and Murdoch carried the fight alone. Touring most in New York City during the acoustic sets there was something special about bringing the entire band to the City.

At show time NYC Finally got its first look at the entire band (minus 1) Patrick Murdoch on Lead Guitar, Vezio Bacci on Bass and Geoff Holroyde on Drums (Sam Swallow who plays Keys and attended the Housing Works show in NYC was absent for reasons unknown to me at the time of this post) took the stage with Jp Jones and Chrissie Hynde.

“Hello,” Hynde purred in her signature voice. “New York Fuckin’ City”

And then they proceeded to teach us a lesson.

Before I mentioned that people not knowing what was happening that night was part of the appeal of the band and by that I mean, the band is a secret almost. Its something that if you know about YOU KNOW what its all about (hopefully) this isn’t the Pretenders in any sort of fashion, this is a new endeavor that is amazingly genuine and crafty in itself and when other people are worried about their big box office tickets in row Z-21 at Madison Square Garden we’re standing five feet from one of the best acts out there today.

There isn’t any pretense with this band, they know already most of the audience has come to see Hynde and that the album may have been overlooked at this point, so they go into ‘sell mode’ they’re going to prove to us that this is an album YOU want and as a Bonus to those fans who have been digging the album since it was released on August 24th they opened with a song that’s not even on the album.

‘If You Were My Age’ says it all. Its ALL about that exact line. An album borne from the frustrations of the age difference between Jones and Hynde but, also of the mutual respect as artist, ‘Fidelity!’ broadcast the message of not being able to be together but, always being tied together. A Rocker that is already sorely missed from the album ‘If You Were My Age’ blast you into the world of the Fairground Boys and puts you on their roller-coaster/Carousel of mixed emotions and unabashed honesty.

The Band then started with the songs from the Album starting with their single: “If You Let Me”. No surprises here (unless you hadn’t heard the song before) Jones and Hynde musical conversation offers dueling ideas but, a want for the same thing (is your head hurting yet?) “If you don’t want to let me in, you better lock this door” Jones warns before Hynde coos in “Cause I’m not fine by myself are going to help me survive?”. It’s than kind of unique quality to their writing that really puts the listeners in awe of what they’re hearing. They could just as easily say: “I love you…you love me…this is hard. Let me in!”  and it’d be a fine song but, the way they play off one another shows, this isn’t just a collaborative act THESE two are somewhat one musical entity on stage.  They don’t take it too seriously either, the music isn’t meant to depress you into a state of endless rumination. Jones flubs up a lyric in the first line, catches himself and smiles through it giving Hynde a smiling nod as they understand each other. Its a fun scene.

‘Fairground Luck” follows, (a phrase that apparently sparked Jones’ and Hynde’s collaboration) a sensual ballad that crescendos into the chorus: “would you whisk me away, could you kiss these lips everyday? If I was down would you pick me up, throw me a little of that, ohh fairground luck”

The show really picks up from here on:

Jones and Hynde explain for the first time that they album is not meant to be taken literally at all points. “We didn’t really go to Australia” Hynde explains and the band begins ‘Australia’. A pop/ballad with enough heart to make a mass murderer reconsider his profession. It tells the story of when Hynde and Jones met, the two open up their verses respectively with: “Didn’t you come over and say Hi to me? I was propping up the bar on me own. Mostly guys like you say Goodbye to me and they never offer me a ride home”/ “I was too loaded to think you’d talk to me, but you’re obviously used to guys like that, when you said ‘no worries’ it came to me where you’re coming from and where you’re at.”

What struck me the most about this performance was just how amazing the band sounded, dare to say better than the studio version (which is impressive on its own) Geoff Holroyde pulls off a drum beat after the bridge that brings new dimensions to the song. Its suddenly no longer a song but, an experience. Jones and Hynde are letting you into their lives…honestly, openly and unapologetically.

The Jazzy Ballad: ‘Meanwhile’ follows, Vezio Bacci’s bass skills are a highlight. The opening notes between him Geoff and Patrick are so perfect that Jones and Hynde almost don’t have to be there and then of course they begin singing and it only gets better from there. Now I’m going to say this again listen to Bacci’s bass playing on the album and if you see them live listen for it…it’s there and its amazing.

Perfect Lover is next, quoted in EVERY article I’ve read about the band but, I won’t do it.

‘Courage’ follows that, Jones explains they hadn’t normally been doing this song (WHY?!) but, they were going to do it tonight. A psuedo-1970s R&B style song. Jones and Hynde show off how well they can sing. In the middle of the song professing: “They got it wrong when they said that we were done” they repeat over and over each time becoming more and more defiant as the music builds until it explodes and overflows like a tidal wave of emotions. Also for you guitar enthusiast Patrick Murdoch pulls off some of the best harmonics I’ve ever heard.

Jones’ solo song ‘Leave Me If You Must” comes next, he puts his guitar down and Hynde keeps hers, he takes his microphone and begins. Anyone use to Hynde’s writing can hear that even though Jones’ is singing it Hynde wrote it. Aside from the obvious lyrics that somewhat bad-mouth her (something Hynde does often about herself) “I couldn’t blame a man to leave a woman past her prime” there are these moments of unrivaled poetry: “I’m the spy who had his back turned hiding in a phone booth” and the Johnny Cash-esque quality of the song also lends to Hynde’s making but, it’s Jones’ deep semi-sexual growl (as he stands on stage with his shirt unbuttoned 3 buttons, his chest showing and a brush of hair peaks out) that pulls the song back as the music pushes it forward creating the sort of result one can only think to find in complex chemical reactions.

Misty Valleys a song Hynde explains is how she imagines Jones, her voice has never been in finer form. “Rockin’ the boat, we’re going nowhere, Drift and float We’re almost there’ Hynde coos in a falsetto that’s to die for.

Portabello Road – There’s no much I can say…This song rocks beyond belief. EVERY band members adds some kind of new besieging burst. Jones’ screams the condemnation of a place where only ‘stuck up muthafuckers’ would go to. in the Chorus they don’t warn but, demand: “don’t go down, don’t you go down Portabello!” Geoff, Vezio and Patrick then show you why THEY are the band and not some other folks. Holroyde doesn’t ever relent as he blast the drums, Bacci adds a pounding pulse with the slightest inclination of a fault and Murdoch, my word Murdoch crafts a solo that never seems to end but, always seems to get better and better and better.

It was then that I realized that something had happened, that this band wasn’t going to go anywhere anytime soon and also that the people closest to me were dead inside. So starstruck and stuck on Hynde that they forget to appreciate an amazing band. Portabello has fire behind it, the fire you see under a space shuttle or erupting from a volcano. Had the show been ended there I would have been fine. Pretenders or not THIS was among the best performance I’ve seen Hynde a part of and anyone who couldn’t appreciate the Fairground Boys last night, should have their hearts checked.

Your Fairground followed, slowing down the pace to be followed then by one of the most beautiful songs Hynde has ever sung. The title track ‘Fidelity’

A uniquely different song of the album Jones and Hynde explain they consider the album their child and since it was written in Cuba they gave it its name after Castro, as the song says: “Its life, we gotta little girl…Fidelity”

They ended the set with “You’re The One” another song not on the album. It continues the theme of the album. “You’re the one That I should’ve married, you’re the one that I should have carried” A nice rocking song to end the first set with.

They came back out for the encore and performed “Never Drink Again” my favorite song off the album, the Moby Grape song: “Murder in My Heart” and ended the show their Christmas song (Jones: “Its almost…well no it’s no where near christmas) “Christmas Soon”

All in all the show was amazing and anyone who has the chance would be a fool to not go see a band in top form perform top notch music together.

This isn’t it though, Jones and Hynde have good poker faces but, not that good. One could see easily that they’ve got more songs out there waiting to be put out.

Lets just hope we as fans are ready to experience the rawest form of perfection again.

Facebook.com/Raganork8

Twitter.com/KeithBcovington

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Review: Fidelity! (Live)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2010 by thenewserials

Love, Loss and Fidelity!

How does one begin something like this? A review of this magnitude ought to be taught as a college seminar. That’s not some overzealous view of my writing skills but, rather an understatement of what happens when two musical geniuses get lemons and make lemonade.

Fidelity!(Available August 24th)  is the newest project from Chrissie Hynde, this time she shares the stage with Welsh born singer/song writer JP Jones, along with a band, filled with talented Musicians, the Fairground Boys. The result is: Jp,Chrissie and the Fairground Boys.

Make no assumptions about this band and about this album. You may think you know Chrissie Hynde and some of you may think you know JP Jones but, this album will send you for a loop from it’s subject matter to its execution.

Monday night  I had the chance to see Jp, Chrissie and the Fairground Boy(s) at the Rockwood music Hall in NYC. To say the show was intimate would be a drastic understatement. Sitting less than 5 feet from Chrissie Hynde, JP Jones and their guitarist Patrick Murdoch, I found myself apart of the action going on onstage.

In a fine mood the three came out ready to play the ENTIRE album of Fidelity (previous shows had only showcased a maximum of 7 songs) JP Jones explained that this would be the first time they played some of these songs live at all and asked for our pardon in advance.

He wouldn’t need it.

Starting with their single “If You Let me” (Released August 10th) the band began to rock the acoustic set. Its in this song that the listener realizes that this isn’t just an album. This isn’t someone putting out music simply because they want to make money or because they like to. This is a story of why growing up is a hard thing to do sometimes.

The lyrics say: “I’m going to on this world/I’m going to make you love me/if you let me/if you let me/if you let me” sung in tandem it shows the like mind of the two songwriters. Every song is just as much felt by JP as it is Chrissie. There aren’t any petty disagreements or empathy for the other. On Fidelity! Jp and Chrissie are one and the same.

The two of them chatted with the audience adding a great deal of humor to the rather humorless chunk of music.

The set of live songs were all gorgeous and painfully honest. The whole of Fidelity! being a story in which two people are forced to understand that they cannot be together because of the age difference between them. The woman is painted as “Past her prime” (a line which sparked some surprised audience reaction and “she wrote it!” as a response from JP Jones) and the man described as a “perfect lover but, he’s only half my age”.

The entire album is of this sort of thing, the realization that it isn’t going to work between this two characters (are they Hynde and Jones?…probably) but, what sets this apart from a normal ‘I wish I could have you but, I can’t’ story is that the two decide to take their love in a different direction.

The word “Son” and “Lover” comes up so much, it’s PAINFULLY clear that they came
to a choice when they said “Hey we can’t be lovers, let me take you under my wing son”

In words like my feeble minded vernacular it sounds somewhat perverse but, when you hear this album, start to finish and hear Hynde’s cooing versus JP ranting, you’ll know.

While JP Jones seems still somewhat embarrassed to admit that this is of any truth to his life Hynde seemed casually open about the failed relationship. Whilst introducing a song named “Never Drink Again” (A quote Hynde has used before) Hynde explained the original name of the song was going to be: “Never drink again, until the pub opens up” a sentiment apparently shared by the other two and much of the audience.

It was then that Hynde does what she does. There aren’t any words to describe it, it’s either some sort of fearless truth and insight of herself or some kind of over-the-top form of bullshit but, Hynde says that she’s stopped drinking because when she does she becomes a “Cunt”.

At the sheer utterance of the ‘C’ word the entire audience gasped and moaned in disapproval but, Hynde got defensive of the choice of words. “No it’s true, he knows it. When I drink I go to the dark side”

It’s that kind of honesty (?) that fills the album, listeners will be treated to an unabashed version of their view on this tragic situation and the audience can decide if their even doing the write thing. Sure the two of  them can write a song but, what will this love affair yield at the very end? Is Fidelity! the ultimate love story or a musical tribute to the mistakes we make when we fall in love and can’t climb our way out?

Whatever it is, Rockwood Musical hall was able to get a glimpse of it. Filled with humor, fun and the passionately played out lyrics, it was hard not to get totally sucked into Fidelity!’s world. A wave of uneasy apprehension filled the room as the words: “I wish I could have met you in a former life, or seen you in a future time” Heartbreak plainly laid onto our laps with no real solution in sight.

Fidelity! is everything and nothing at the same time. Its what you WANT from an artist and yet it has no solution to its story, we’re told from the first lyric how this game is going to be played before our eyes and in the very end we still see they had not lied.

The concept of their love not being able to grow the way they want is complicated but, they treat it as a simple inconvenience. The human mind will baffle at it and enjoyed being toyed with.

Fidelity! is a complicated, perplexing view of simplicity and common sense.

As harsh as an acid and soothing as a base.

Tuesday August 10th New York City, SoHo.

After the events at the Rockwood musical hall the night before, I couldn’t pass up the chance to see the band again at the Apple store in SoHo. A free event that was set up for the store.

There’s not much to say here, they did 5 planned songs and revealed that management or Apple or some other power that be wouldn’t be allowing them to do anymore. But after some coaxing from the audience they unveiled an even NEWER song in a catalogue of new songs. Hynde explained the song is going to be released as a Christmas EP and the band had to take some time to remember how to play it but, when it was all over, the song was a beautiful christmas ballad.

Restricted by time and the store the SoHo appearance wasn’t the same glimpse into life ala Jones/Hynde but, a showcase of good songs.

I shouldn’t have to type this but, if you aren’t convinced that you should rush out and find the nearest performance by Jp/Chrissie and the Fairground Boys at this point of the review then simply don’t go. You’re not alive probably.

Fidelity! is NOT a Pretenders album and one shouldn’t convince themselves that the band will play Pretenders songs or have any Pretenders sentiments whatever. This is all new, and as real as it gets. Hynde hasn’t ever really let her audience down and Fidelity! is among the best music she’s ever put out.

Walk don’t run.

The Setlist for August 9th was:

If You Let Me

Fairground Luck

Meanwhile

Your Fairground

Leave Me If You Must

Misty Valleys

Australia

Never Drink Again

Skinny Love (not performed)

You’re The One (not on the album)

Perfect Lover

Fidelity

Portobello Road

Murder in My Heart

an encore included

If You Were My Age.

The Setlist for August 10th was:

If You Let Me

Fairground Luck

Never Drink Again

You’re The One

Your Fairground

An Encore included:

It Must Be Christmas

JP. Chrissie and the Fairground Boys will be back in NYC on September 25th 2010 at Irving Plaza. Tickets on sale now

Magneto Was Right!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2009 by thenewserials

Early I was joking with a friend telling them that I think there needs to be a gay Magneto in the real world. Someone radical enough to stand up for gay rights without any kind of condition. It was really just a light natured, funny idea but, as I watched the news today I saw yet another anti-gay-bias attack, this has been the third attack I’ve heard of this month alone. It seems now that every week there seems to be the same thing happening: someone walking down a street is attacked by a group of people and beat mercilessly whilst being being verbally attacked with gay slurs. I’m not sure why no one seems to be addressing this, it’s important and it needs to be stopped, Sunday was the pride parade and now something like this happens again?

It feels as if the tiny media attention this gets is all one can really expect from the NYC Police department, a department that has been known to abandon fellow gay cops in danger because of their sexual orientation. The mayor doesn’t really say anything about gay…anything cept he thinks we should have marriage but, considering he isn’t in the power to do anything about that his words are pretty much useless.

So what do we need?

Someone who is unafraid to intimidate this homophobic cowards, at this point trying to be nice people hasn’t really gotten us anywhere has it?  Marriage in some states and we’re just now getting some basic rights and the gay community as a whole seems to be OK with these insults?

Correct me if I’m wrong but, aren’t all Americans supposed to have the same basic rights from birth? We’ve seen the country try to block rights based on sex and race and those have broken through the barrier with great power but, here are the gay people politely knocking on the door of equality, meekly asking if they can be let in.

Its stupid by all accounts and there’s no real articulate way to express that any better, so I think now is the time to stop playing nice and start playing hardball. Obama has been extremely slow to do ANYTHING on the rights of the LGTBQ people, the other day I saw something that said he declared June LGTBQ month, what  the hell does that mean? When wasn’t June pride month? does he think he’s doing someone a favor by giving us a month anyway? I don’t want a month I want rights and I want a crackdown on Homophobic attacks of all kinds. the Government has been issuing insults to the Gay community for years; saying outright that we as a people aren’t good enough to have the same things Heterosexuals have and no one seems to be mad about that. Its time to get MAD its time to start breaking shit, sorry to say. I don’t condone violence at all but, when everyone is ignoring you and your dying on the side of the road its time to start throwing rocks at cars to get someones attention.

By any means Necessary has to be the new motto for the LGTBQ community, if they don’t want to give us our rights then we have be prepared to take our fist and choke it out of them, in the end if they will not empathize with us then they should truly fear what we may do to prove how serious we are. This country would not RUN without the many LGTBQ people working in its innards and making sure the Heterosexual people can live comfortable fair and legally protected lives. If need be then the Gay community needs to go to those same innards we work in and rip them out one by one and let the machine of injustice slowly die until they’re ready to begin serious talks.

The crippling effect of the blow will force out some terrible opponents but, what can they do to us that they already aren’t doing? They’ve broken our families, denied our health, sold our jobs, belittled our rights. We are a SECOND class of citizens in a country where one can prostitute themselves and their children in perverse manners to entertain and make money.

They think we’re going to sit back and be complacent until we forget we have rights and its time to stand up and show them its the opposite. That we aren’t going to wait a DAY longer for rights. We’ve lost too many people in a battle we haven’t even begun to fight. DEAD gay men and women, tied to trees, beaten, abused, raped, left for dead, abandoned by their fellow man, now its time to strike back so that years from now THEIR children’s children will cringe at our terrible might and then maybe they will begin to take us seriously.

But alas our Gay and Lesbian ‘leaders’ are weak and fearful. They stand under their bosses as lapdogs and take the scraps like sick, famished children. We need them to be put out of their misery and REMOVED from their offices and replaced with people who will not be afraid to look the unmoving President in the eye and tell him that TOMORROW is not insured that the rights of our people must be given today or HE will face an uprising against him so strong that not even his historic win in November will be able to survive the tarnishing glory of our demands!

If they will not give us our rights then we need to TAKE them BACK. We are HUMAN and we have RIGHTS and we will gain them NOW not later and God save anyone who stands in our way!

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/06/29/2009-06-29_slurs_hurled_in_e_side_attack.html