Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind are less than five years old; yet their history goes back further to the Jim Jones Review, which folded in 2014. Out of the ashes of the Jim Jones Review, band members Jim Jones and Gavin Jay formed the Righteous Mind. Jones and Jay recruited multi-instrumentalist Mal Troon and keyboard player Matt Millership, making their band complete. In a short space of time, Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind evolved the 1950s rock n’ roll influences of The Jim Jones Revue by exploring a darker, more cinematic sound incorporating psychedelia, country, blues and gospel.
With their last London show at the 100 Club in March selling out; Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind promised to follow this up with “a Saturday night extravaganza!” With a plethora of DJ’s, dancers and nudity; there was also three support acts. Not any support acts, but: Suzie Stapleton (whose own full live band includes Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind’s Gavin Jay and Jim Macaulay (The Stranglers) on drums); seven-piece Ye Nuns (who band members include Debbie Smith (Echobelly), an all-girl tribute to 60s proto-krautrock garage punkers The Monks impressed with instant, catchy, infectious mystic harmonies over scratchy guitars (and banjo) with a layer of fuzz bass and Chrome Mountain.
The origins of Chrome Mountain is mesmerising. Drummer George Phillips was a touring member of Electrafixion and supported them on David Bowie’s “Outside” Tour. Describing themselves as “a shot of the neat and undiluted stuff” aiming to reset “your moral compass to a state of existential confusion”; Chrome Mountain proved to be no ordinary garage rock band. With not one, but three members of this five-piece taking on vocal responsibilities; the result was an elating cacophonous blend of David Grohl and Josh Holme. Chrome Mountain’s musical influences ranged from The Black Delta Movement to Queens of the Stone Age.
Opening with “Way out West” with a Steppenwolf “Born to be Wild” feel; the raw garage rock genius of Chrome Mountain was instantly felt. The stoned energy continued with “Project D”. There were also pleasantly unexpected elements in their tracks such as “Raising Ground” which saw a dark, but beautiful, cacophony of Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” and the Beatles “Day Tripper”. Chrome Mountain played out with six-minute “Digital Breakdown” which had a soothing soundtrack to lyrics revealing a disturbing reality.
When Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind entered the stage, they could have (particularly organist Matt Millership) easily been mistaken for a Goth band, by being adorned in black clothing and silver jewellery. Opening with their latest standalone single, “Get down get with it”, originally written by Bobby Marchan and made famous by Little Richard & Slade; Jim Jones sounded like a preacher and his congregation were screaming hallelujah, praising the Lord for Jim Jones and all the acts that had previously addressed the stage. Sticking solely to material with the Righteous Mind, the band went on to plug material from their first LP, Super Natural before playing “Shazam” from their latest LP, CollectiV.
Dancers, backing singers and saxophone players joined Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind for several songs. The jazz injection of the saxophone added a “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” rock n’ roll kick to their sound. There was not just one, but many invitations to “get down and get with it!” As the set continued, there was increased ecstasy on the mind, body and the soul. Jim Jones took the audience on a loud, hypnotic transcendence to a higher rock n’ roll plain. Jim Jones also covered “Helter Skelter”, injecting the bands own rock n’ roll interpretation to this White Album classic.
Jim Jones’ famous last words were “Fuck the fascists and fuck all the racists”, perspiring a sense of positivity into the crowd; this positivity was further enhanced once Jim Jones returned to stage following an encore, which saw the drummer using differently shaped drum sticks, having the effect of adding an intense, heavier echo to the bands’ hardcore blues sound.
When Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind came to The Garage in London, they left an energy that has seldom chance of extinguishing. From the moment Suzie Stapleton addressed the stage to Chrome Mountain and Ye Nuns playing outstanding sets as if they were also headliners, to Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind playing out; the flock were truly blessed by their preacher who took his bands’ 1950s rock n’ roll influences to a new, elevated spiritual level.
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