Sharon van Etten – Brighton – 27.11.14


Sharon van Etten – singer/songwriter from Brooklyn, NY – was originally due to play Brighton’s Corn Exchange last night. However, the venue was changed by the promoter (Melting Vinyl) a couple of weeks back to the infinitely more appropriate setting of St George’s church (also in Brighton).


A fine set of songs old and new, quite a lot of which were a lot louder than I had at first imagined from my frequent plays of late of her latest album “Are we there” released earlier this year.


The inevitable ‘encore’ cries with enthusiastic cheering, foot-stomping and clapping from a very appreciative (and sold-out) audience though, was one of the longest I can remember. Many had given up and left by the time a solo Sharon re-appeared after some five minutes to perform a wonderful final piece. A cracking gig.


Eighties Greatest #1 – 1980

From grass-roots indie to stadium rock, hip-hop to acid-house, the 1980’s gave the music world a lot to remember. And, whereas I cannot hope to do the decade the justice it deserves, over the next ten days or so, Jemtunes will be picking a track from an album released in each of those ten short years – 1980 to 1989.

I’m kicking things off for 1980 with ‘Ready‘ from ‘The Blues Band‘.


Formed in 1979 by Paul Jones , the former vocalist and harmonica player with Manfred Mann , and guitarist Dave Kelly who’d played with both Howlin’ Wolf and John Lee Hooker, the original line up also included Gary Fletcher on bass, guitarist Tom McGuinness (also from Manfred Mann) and drummer Hughie Flint

Ready is the band’s second studio album and came complete with a live single “Nadine”. I saw the band twice back in the day. Check out the price of the ticket though!


Simply Seventies #10 – 1979

Today marks the end of the Jemtunes ‘Simply Seventies’ series as we’ve reached the end of the decade – 1979. It’s been quite tricky choosing which albums to include for each year so I’m staying with that theme and choosing Cheap Trick‘s “Dream Police” for the Simply Seventies swan song.


Dream Police was the band’s fourth studio album and was their most successful commercial venture. Recorded at the Record Plant in L.A., the album gave us several singles including ‘Dream Police’ and ‘Way of the world’.


But my favourite is “Need your Love” featured here. Building to a crescendo, the guitar work from Rick Neilson over the closing two minutes or so is sublime.



Simply Seventies #9 – 1978


For the penultimate posting on the Jemtunes ‘Simply Seventies’ series, here’s the self-titled debut from George Thorogood & the Destroyers released in 1978.

Introducing the world to a master of the ‘Delaware slide’, Mr Thorogood was soon to unleash “Bad to the bone”, a modern-day blues classic anthem since used in countless commercials and movie soundtracks the world over.


Here though is another classic from the debut – a melancholy tale of a man down on his luck, unsuccessful at finding a job and finding brief solace in a bar….


Simply Seventies #8 – 1977


Jemtunes is currently working its way through the 1970s with a track from an album released in each year of the decade.

Talking Heads 77 introduced the world to ‘Psycho Killer‘, an anthem which was played completely to death in every studio and at every party during my Foundation course at West Sussex College of Art and Design that year.


So I’m going to leave it there for this instalment. That and another airing of this wonderful track.

Arc Iris – Brighton – 16.11.14


I am amongst the very privileged few to have been party last night to by far the most intimate and smallest gig (both in venue and audience size) I have ever been to; Arc Iris at Bom Banes in Brighton.

Bom Banes is a cafe-restaurant owned by musician proprietor Jane Bon-Bane. During the day and evening it serves a variety of Belgian and other European fayre, but is unique amongst its peers in that it also hosts live music in its intimate basement environs.

Twenty-five of us crammed ourselves in for a truly memorable acoustic set from Jocie Adams and the band (aka Arc Iris). Hailing from Providence, Rhode Island, the band is Jocie’s solo project having previously fronted for The Low Anthem. Joined by Zach Miller on keys, Ray Belli on percussion, Robin Ryczek on cello and Max Johnson on bass, Arc Iris’ genre is hard to define. So I won’t even try.

Suffice to say that the evening’s performance provided us with a wonderful mix of delicate folk, strident jazz and haunting melody selected both from their debut self-titled album released earlier this year and new material performed live for the first time tonight.

Being up close and personal to the band is one thing; this took that to a whole different level. At one point Jocie stood on a bench by my knee as the acoustics closer to the ceiling gave her voice more depth for certain songs. Beer breaks a plenty, the band chatted amiably between songs, bringing all of us easily in to their conversation. The warmth exuded in more ways than one giving rise to perhaps one of the most memorable gigs I have been in to quite a while.





Find out more about Arc Iris.