Gene Loves Jezebel deliver a masterclass in gothic rock
It's always the sign of a great show when a band deviate from the setlist to add an extra song to the encore, as a sign of appreciation to an enthusiastic audience.
When that song is the rarely-played classic Josephina, it rounded off an astonishing performance by veteran gothic rockers Gene Love Jezebel at Trillians Rock Bar in Newcastle last night.
They delivered a masterclass in showmanship, musicianship and style, with a fair few killer songs along the way, for a crowd who's waited well over a decade for their North East return.
Frontman Jay Aston twisted and gyrated like an apocalyptic mix of Mick Jagger and Axl Rose, with his warm, expressive voice dripping in melancholic emotion, and he really hit the sweet spot on the emotive Why Can`t I.
Classics came thick and fast ,with opener Twenty Killer Hurts setting the pace, and Bruises from their 1983 debut Promises, with its driving beat and pounding bass, keeping their old fans more than happy.
While many bands that have been around for a fair few years are content to sit back on their legacy, Jay Aston's version of GLJ - his estranged twin brother Michael has his own version - continue to push forward creatively.
Their recent Dance Underwater album more than matches their output from the 1980s, with Cry 4 U and Flying (The Beautiful Blue) showing genuine class, and while much of the focus is on Aston, the rest of the band shine too.
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Guitarist James Stevenson has a CV which includes Generation X, Chelsea, The Cult and The Alarm, amongst others, and his sharp, incisive melodic riff to Heartache and dark gothic tones on Upstairs showed just why he is so in demand.
The adept bass work of Pete Rizzo and the dynamic groove of drummer Joel Patterson combined to perfection on the Funky Jealous, and really displayed a band in complete sync with one another.
Of course, Break The Chain, Desire (Come and Get It) and The Motion Of Love sounded great - better in fact that their studio counterparts, with the added punch and energy of a live setting taking them to another level altogether.