Gig review: The Jim Jones All Stars at The Crescent, York

The Jim Jones All Stars
The Jim Jones All Stars

You know it’s going to be a good night when the support act take the stage to a quiet early-doors room and leave to a captivated crowd baying for more.

On a lesser bill, openers the Pearl Harts might well have stolen the show – the London-based duo of guitarist Kirsty Lowrey and Scarborough-born drummer Sara Leigh Shaw expertly whip up a hard-riffing, hook-laden, hair-flailing sound, which splits the difference between 80s glam hard rock and 90s riot grrrl punk, with stage skills honed by opening for the likes of Garbage and Skunk Anansie.

But tonight, their set serves as a supercharger for the revving V8 engine of the Jim Jones All Stars, a band on a singular mission to make a bunch of (mostly) grizzled geezers playing rock ’n’ roll sound dangerous again. For this show, they are an eight-piece band, bouncing off the charismatic energy of their frontman.

The gig also turns into a birthday party for Jones, a man who has spent some decades on a quest for the primitive essence of raw, dirty garage rock since starting out in heavy psychedelic outfit Thee Hypnotics.

There are filthy riffs aplenty and an irresistible underlying groove that soon loosens even the most middle-aged of hips in the room. And if you think the saxophone in rock music is synonymous with 80s power ballad cheese, the two rhythmically honking hellhounds on Jim Jones’s trail beg to differ.

Throughout a sweat-soaked set, the likes of Gimme The Grease, Devil’s Kiss and It’s Your Voodoo Working variously bring The Stooges, James Brown, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds and Heartattack and Vine-era Tom Waits to mind – not to mention their take on the Velvet Underground’s Run Run Run.

As the party comes to an end, Jones gives a deserved shout out to the Crescent staff and to all independent live music venues – this was the kind of show that really makes you appreciate them.