Jesse James – Leeds Josephs Well

By paul

After the excesses of PB3 the night before and about a grand total of five hours sleep, an hour long bus journey from Sheffield to Leeds isn’t exactly the best hangover cure. Neither is sitting in a pub for another all-dayer, knowing full well you can’t drink because you have to drive. Ho-hum. Anyway, Buzztone are in town for the first time and after hearing Ben rattle on about them for what seems like forever, I had to take the opportunity to catch them in full throttle, even at the steepish ΒΆΕ“7 door fee. Billed as a ska all-dayer, Jesse James, Captain Everything and $up topped the bill, alongside a number of local bands, including Milk2Sugars.

But it was BUZZTONE who set the standards for the evening with arguably the best set of the day/night. The Swindon lads made the 450-mile round trip without any complaints and blasted any hangover cobwebs clean away with a fast and furious set of ferocious skate punk anthems. Vocalist Si has a near perfect vocal and this is ably complemented by hard hitting drumming. Coming across like Slick Shoes and Strung Out in a play-fight, they maintain their riotous brand of skate punk without losing any of the melodies. Every song appears to be sub-two minutes and the Guns n Roses cover is a highlight, despite a few wonky notes at the outset. Buzztone are in the Phinius Gage mould of rugged melodic punk rock and while currently unsigned, on the basis of this set, they will have plenty of new suitors waiting for a signature soon. (8.5)

Local heroes SAVING LENNIE are up next but they’re a massive disappointment and the worst band on the bill tonight. With a female singer with a voice that is decent at best, the band’s problem is that they look scared stiff up on stage. There’s no movement and the songs themselves are third-rate generic Save Ferris-esque ska punk. On the bright side they are only youngsters and will surely improve, but on a bill like this they are way, way out of their depth. (4)

Due to a slight oversight (ie i misread the times) both MILK2SUGARS and THE AGENCY were missed which rather defeated the object of attending the gig, but there we go. Still, my four cheese pizza more than made up for it! Peterborough’s $UP are coming on leaps and bounds and are certainly on the verge of something special. Signed to 20 Deck Records, the band play a unique mix of skacore with blends Capdown, Mad Caddies and NoComply into one big melting pot and comes out with a full throttle mix that doesn’t relent for the duration of the entire set. Singer Shaun is easily a star in the making and the sheer energy given off makes it tiring to watch. But what the band have visually isn’t quite matched sonically. For all their effort and appeal, $up lack songs. ‘Critix’ is an absolute monster of a track but the rest tend to just merge into one another. It’s at times predictable fare, fast hardcore part follows skankable chorus follows fast hardcore part – and in short bursts it’s great stuff. But over 30 minutes and ten songs you feel like you’ve heard some of it before. There’s no doubting $up are going to be huge in the next 18 months, but I feel their growth is being stunted by a lack of quality in their writing. (7.5)

CAPTAIN EVERYTHING also disappoint which surprised me. Having seen them before when they were full of beans and on top form, the trio are highly amusing and play their breakneck pop-punk tracks as well as anyone. But tonight they are upstaged easily by Buzztone and look tired and bored. Their new album is an absolute cracker and a few tracks go down a treat tonight, but it all seems a little lost on a few of the younger fans who have come to skank the night away. C*E are a great band and HHN have themselves a corking band, but tonight there’s something wrong in the camp and I’m left a little disappointed. (7)

I never actually thought I’d say this, but JESSE JAMES were actually ok. That was only an ok and not a good, but I will put my hands up and say that on the basis of this performance, JJ are far better in smaller venues. Having seen them supporting Lit and Bowling For Soup I’ve been bored rigid by the band, but tonight they did manage to hold my attention for half a dozen songs before we went home. A smattering of new songs are played alongside some old favourites, and by and large the kids love it, dancing away merrily to their heart’s content. Most of them are probably unawares of the ‘politics’ that surround the band in light of their recent spat with King Prawn, although there are a few hecklers at the back who don’t appreciate their music. Still, like Whitmore, there are plenty of people who love them and plenty who are haters and it takes guts to get onstage every night and answer your critics. I wasn’t won over by any means, but maybe my foot did tap once or twice…(7)