Joseph J. Jones / The Louisiana, Bristol | 12th of March

Joseph J. Jones / The Louisiana, Bristol | 12th of March

I caught the last few tracks of Jasper Storey, a quietly spoken chap with slight gruffness to an otherwise acoustic suited (acouted) voice; nice high element to it also. I sipped on Gem amber ale and my mind wandered somewhat to the notorious booking quality of the place, the eclectic array of impressive artists that have performed and will continue to perform at the Louisiana, and then my mind returned and noted it was the pleasantness of the music that allowed my mind to wander in the first place, at which point I acknowledged lyricism beyond simplicity, supported subtly by a girl beside him on stage and Rhodes chords that folded up beneath Storey’s electric guitar, reverbing away.

Matt Wilson, second support: impassioned vocal ballads ebb and flow and roll out emotively over an acoustic sixstring that does the same

Anyway. Joseph J. Jones has got some voice. It tells stories, and it does it well. Whether metaphorically (Gospel Truth) or literally (the straight forward, protective story behind Put the Word Out), the baritone power in his heartfelt crescendos seems doubly effective because of quieter, surprising falsetto turns. It is fitting, then, that the first song Jones played for us (a reasonable Monday night crowd) was focused on the transition of a Whisper to a Hurricane.

That and second song Stay (also from his ‘16 EP ‘Hurricane’) set soulful standards that were carried through with genuine class to set-end. He introduced his band: Courtney on piano, Warren on the MPC drumboard at the back (his rhythm great, his hand speed mad), Harry on bass and keys. They really cater to Jones’ strengths, one of which is precisely the soulful grit evidenced again on Crawl – which has allegedly been described as a ‘spaghetti Western on speed’. A wonderful, sprawling track, it starts off with an angered quickspoken, lament and culminates in a biting chorus. It originally got airtime in Germany. He is thankful to the Germans.

Between tracks, Jones recites anecdotes in a strong, East London accent which lends a sense of humour to even the more mystical of tales (before Broken Bones, he recalls an encounter on the street with a woman wielding premonitions re: Jones’ dead Grandfather Fred, who was a jazz guitarist. The song itself is, as he admits, a profound and ‘personal’ affair. The fine croaking vocals send a cold air through the space, a resilience against the idea of giving up on music; as good a performance as any on the night). That was a long bracket.

The aforementioned falsetto makes a fine appearance in self-certified cheery titled The Dirt, again an overcoming of hardship, a theme that Jones’ voice portrays brilliantly. By and large, he is appreciative, polite, grounded and supremely talented. His new single Speaking in Tongues has a clever piano rhythm and driving snare but take nothing away from Jones whose talent and control, at times, shows likeness to namesake Tom if I may be o so bold. It’s a voice you feel like you might’ve heard before but not quite in the same way. Just grasping his mic rocking his OutKast t-shirt wasn’t he, singing about generational concerns such as videos not matching reality (wicked, artificial violins in that number – aptly named The Video) and relentless relationships in No Mercy, his final performance, a rowdy rocky affair that shook the room and drew a deserving ovation.

 

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