It has been years since I last saw anyone play at the Hope & Anchor and its recent makeover has made it once again a venue worth going to with great beer selection meaning I could drink this week's most appropriate beer yes I had some Twisted Thistle to keep the union together with. It was also cool to once again be at a gig promoted by Tony Fraser who put on so many of the gigs I was at in the 80's and onwards good to see him still putting on the odd cool show.
When I first went downstairs with Sterling Roswell into the gig room for Spectraglow he wasn't in the band but by the time I'd said hello to Tony Fraser, Texas Bob Juarez had persuaded Sterling to join him and his companero as the bands drummer. I think the other guitarist may well have been in the Television Personalities along with Texas Bob at some point as they played a set of Television Personalities songs that opened with a spectral and very cool version of Hamburg Skies that saw Sterling Roswell feeling his way round the basic kit gingerly.
Picture Of Dorian Gray was very cool indeed and I think the loose jammed feel worked well as it also did on Look Back In Anger. In between songs they had chats as to what to play next and Sterling asked every once in a while if it was a fast or slow number or what time it was in although he seemed pretty comfortable playing on I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives that also had some pretty nifty guitar work on it. They finished the set with King & Country that just about held together and was a cool close to a nice set.
Next on where Elia & The Low Tears who for this show were playing as a trio of acoustic Guitar, Baritone Sax and vocals and for me they were all about the girl who was seated playing the Baritone Sax her stabs and tone just brought the bittersweet soul songs Elia was singing to life. Plenty of songs of regret the best song in the set was probably Perfect Circles apparently about an obsessive fans videos of the bands tunes. But I have to have a sneaking respect for any band who tell us the next song is inspired by reading John Paul Sartres The Reprieve well absolutely a pretty cool song as well and easier to listen to than Sartre is to read.
Dirt Road about the shit of life wasn't as harrowing as it might sound and they finished a decent set with Violins played of course without any violins but Elia has a cool voice and that baritone Sax needs to be heard live.
Well since The Jazz Butcher last played in London a few weeks ago there has been a slight change of Personnel as Max Eider has decided to retire from live performance and he's been replaced by Simon Taylor who as you'd expect plays trumpet!! Yes they have replaced the guitarist with a trumpeter. They are now a proper Jazz Quartet and also apparently fully paid up members of the Thursday club which is apparently the Northampton Musicians equivalent to the Monday Club only not quite as dodgy.
They opened the set with a nice instrumental that showed off Simon Taylor's skills nicely as he played his trumpet with the first of a series of different Mutes as the two Steve's set the tone for a good laid back set of very restrained back porch jazz or in this case Cellar jazz.
Animals worked very well in this setting with Pat's vocals also rather languidly accompanied by his slow strumming. Steve New's Double Bass seemed to drive Tombe Dans Les Pommes that has an English intro before Pat slipped seamlessly into the songs French lyrics the trumpet seemed to make it sound even more like a Jaques Brel song than ever.
There was a good bit of joking between songs and the nature of the lyrics on Last Of The Gentleman Adventurers played into that well as it became apparent just how tight the Thursday club were the differing mutes on the trumpet adding different textures as Steve Garofolo mainly played his drums with Brushes I think this was the song that actually had a little ballroom dancing going on.
Black Raoul has been a live favourite for years now and the current cool Jazz setting suits it perfectly with the almost walking bass style mimicking a cat strolling around this cellar we are in. We then got a new song that I guess is called Whose That Man With the Black Moustache that is sort of Django Reinhardt meets Jaques Brel but with a twist of Slim Gaillard for good measure and humour it was very cool.
Melanie Hargreaves Fathers Jaguar could have been about a cat but is about a car and is a good counterpoint to the old classic Caroline Wheelers Birthday Present, but no one wants to see a Jaguar end up like the one in this song ends up, I look forward to hearing a recorded version of this song soon.
Pat then dipped deep into the back catalogue for a very cool version of Living In A Village being played live for the first time in well forever or decades at the least before they went all Jimi Hendrix meets Trad Gras Och Stenar on a super laid back jazzed out version of Bobby Dylans All Along The Watchtower during which there was a bit of a commotion and most of us were shocked to see security leading a woman out of the Hope and Anchor whatever had she done!
Last time out Solar Core was the closest they came to rocking out this time it was a bit mellower and went a bit psych jazz almost into Sound Of Joy era Sun Ra but obviously with male vocals as Pat doesn't sound like June Tyson at all. Well with one person already ejected it really was Party Time and most of us were singing along as it was played at wallflower pace we were having an extraordinary time of it and everyone was smiling nicely.
The next song to go all Jazzy for us was the Rave rock classic Quality People that Pat used to play with Wilson only now it was all cool jazz and about halfway through it twisted into Gloria that of course got everyone singing to the chorus. They closed the set with another great version of Slim Gaillards Dunkin' Bagels In the Coffee that the trumpet works brilliantly on and it was a perfect end to a very cool set now that the Jazz butcher has finally gone Jazz will he ever go back to Rock.
London has one more chance to See the JBQ at Come Down Meet the Folks in Clerkenwell next Sunday afternoon before they go off to Japan for a short tour.