Live review and picture credit: Adrian Hextall / Mindhex Media
Another year passes and Brit hopefuls The Brew return to the capital for a show at what is fast becoming a second home for them. The 100 Club has played host to everyone who is anyone. The band are in great company as the photos that cover the venue walls confirm.
Muddy Waters, BB King, The Who and The Kinks in the 60s were then followed by the birth of punk at the club with the Sex Pistols, The Clash and Siouxsie & The Banshees. Oasis and Suede played in the 90s as well and in the ’00s, artists such as The Horrors, Gallows and Kings Of Leon have trodden the wide stage that takes up most of the main wall.
If you’ve never visited, it’s THE place for intimate secret shows by major acts including (per the Club’s website) Queens Of The Stone Age, Metallica, Alice Cooper, The Rolling Stones, Blur, The New York Dolls, Desmond Dekker, Primal Scream, St Etienne, Mark Ronson, Chuck Berry, Paul Mccartney, Nas, Santigold, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Toots And The Maytals, Plan B, Paul Weller and Spiritualized to name just a few.
A Brew show is also an opportunity to check out new acts. Every time they play here, they attract the cream of new, interesting and above all, talented new acts. The bill on offer tonight presents Jupiter Way and Black Balled to the eager crowd.
Jupiter Way is a U.K blues rock band formed in London in 2015 by Jullian Vuitton and Kevin Thomas. They started the band in one of the most classic ways imaginable – dropping out of their jobs!
With an independently released E.P. “Catch Fire” released in October, 2015, the band (Kevin Thomas (guitar, vocals), Jullian Vuitton (lead guitar), Cody Lee (keyboard), Alex Walls (bass) and Jon Stone (drums)) open the evening and deliver a modern, raw blues rock feel that clearly draws from the classics and shows a youthful band with verve and energy and a clear direction and intent to make a mark on the scene. Kevin Thomas’ vocal range suits the gritty bluesy sound perfectly and Vuitton’s guitar work was simply mesmerising.
Jupiter Way’s sound draws heavily from 60’s and 70’s and clear homages to Led Zeppelin and The Band can be noted. They also note on their own site that Motown were an influence and this allows their sound to drift towards a more soulful approach than pure blues might otherwise provide. Well worth getting in early for.
Next band, who underwent something of a refurbishment from sound check to stage time, thanks to appearing for their set decked out in finest shirts, waist coats and hats. Contrasted with the gritty grunge look they sound checked in, it does show that looks can be deceptive and image is every much a part of a show as the sound.
BlackBalled was formed in the summer of 2012 by brothers Marshall and Leon Gill. With Tom Wibberley on bass, their stage act and sound is tight and a perfect fit for The Brew. Highly energised and with a great set of pipes on him, Marshall looks like a young Billy Gibbons and knows perfectly how to work the room. His cheeky, chirpy and wholly friendly northern accent draws a smile from the crowd and sees them moving closer to embrace the sound that the tight trio produce. Leon’s drumming carves out a solid beat and his flat cap, perched so low to make him look not unlike the Mirror’s Andy Capp, continues to present the image of working class lads done good. Tom, with his top hat looks like a musical undertaker but again helps drive the sound perfectly.
The groove laden rock they produce is solid, warrants further listens and defies you to stand still during their set. With a self titled e.p. out at the moment, it deserves some of those pennies you’ve been putting to one side for emergencies.
And so to our head line act. The final round of touring in support of the Control album can only mean one thing. A new album is in the works with a release scheduled for Autumn 2016.
Despite an amount of desperate begging that grown men would be disgusted by, a chat with the band before the show indicated that no new songs would be aired in the set, focussing instead on the songs that the fans know and like instead. No bad thing of course, crowd-pleasers are always appreciated and the response during the 75-80 minutes on stage would suggest that the band got the list exactly right.
On a stage capable of holding 9-10 artists comfortably, you’d think that the three piece would be a little lost up there but that fails to take into account the electrifying performance they put on each and every time they play. Clearly at home at The 100 Club, the band throw themselves headfirst into the fray with a blistering rendition of Repeat. With Kurtis and Tim Smith so energised it looks like they’ve been wired into the mains, it is left to vocalist \ guitarst Jason Barwick to deliver the licks and the vocals stage left.
With a wealth of space afforded to him, Jason has two missions in mind, one to deliver some tight guitar work combined with perfect vocal tones, the other and most important to prove that he can spend more than 50% of the gig airborne as my shots below will attest to. An endorsement from Red Bull surely beckons !!!
Mute, Pause, Skip all follow in quick succession. It was then a rare opportunity to hear The Third Floor from their 2011 album of the same title. Barwick bounces, Kurtis krushes his kit, Tim towers over stage right pounding out the beat on his worn bass guitar. The energy and atmosphere continues to grow as the band close the second half of the set in classic style with Shuffle / KAM / Every Gig Has A Neighbour / Six Dead (with Barwick playing his guitar, Page-like with a bow) before they finish with Kurtis Smith delivering a pulverising drum solo.
A drum solo you say !! An opportunity to go to the bar more like…. but wait! This is something else. This is the third time I’ve seen The Brew play this venue and it’s the first time I’ve realised where the true power and energy of the band lies. Kurtis Smith’s solo was nothing short of jaw dropping, awe inspiring, phenomenal music. Stunning to the last, I take everything I’ve ever said about drum solos back on the strength of this. Chanelling his inner Tommy Aldridge he even plays a portion of it with hands and fists much to the delight of the crowd.
I truly hope The Brew can find a bigger audience in the UK. If any one band deserves their shot over here (in their own bloody country after all) it’s these guys.
Watch, Listen, Love !