Date: 13th May 2018
Review and photography: Beandog
There are few performers to have demonstrated their commitment to the rock & roll cause as faithfully as Jim (Jizzy Pearl) Wilkinson. Once a student of celebrated voice coach, Elizabeth “Queen of the Scream” Sebine, he has carved out a strong career that has spanned several decades with time spent in several well known bands. Notably, he has fronted L.A. Guns, Quiet Riot and Ratt, as well as a stint singing for ex-Guns ‘n’ Roses drummer, Steven Adler in the Adler’s Appetite project. Jizzy also has a number of solo albums under his belt. The most recent of which; All You Need is Soul was released on May 11th and is available through Frontiers Music Srl.
Of course, most significantly, Jizzy rose to popularity in the early nineties as frontman for the Californian, rock & roll four piece, Love/Hate. A band that has since taken its place in the “should have been huge” chapter of the hard rock history books. At the peak of their career, Love/Hate played an appealing mix of deft, heavy rock guitar with a driving rhythm section that scorched, slapped and buzzed with a psychedelic, punk energy. Jizzy’s piercing, bluesy wail soared across this sleazy, sonic brew for several albums. Each one was chock full with genuine, fist-in-the-air anthems that celebrated the Sunset Strip through a nebulous haze of booze and sweet hashish. At the height of their notoriety and as if to prove that being “loco-crazy” wasn’t just a whacky lyric, Jizzy “crucified” himself on the centre of the Hollywood sign and created enough of a bluster to test the established mantra that ALL publicity is good publicity.
Alas, activity slowed down and the band eventually broke up. These days, it is only King Jizzo who remains consistently active from the original line up. He is still writing new songs but perhaps wisely, and with acknowledgment to his best loved work, he continues to incorporate the Love/Hate name into his music. This tour is advertised as Jizzy Pearl/Love/Hate and it’s a fairly safe bet that those in attendance are here to listen to the songs from Blackout in the Red Room or Wasted in America blasted out at top volume… If we are lucky we might get a deeper cut from Let’s Rumble (Worth noting at this point that Darren Housholder from the Let’s Rumble Love/Hate line up plays on Jizzy’s new solo record). A few of us might even be contemplating how long it’s been since we heard ANYTHING from I’m Not Happy… Fewer still wondering if Living Off Layla was ever performed live. Did anyone even buy that album? (This reviewer raises his hand)…
With all of this running through my mind I arrive at the venue eager to see some top drawer rock & roll. Unfortunately, I missed the first band of the night: UK’s Emperors of the Wasteland. It’s a shame because checking them out online I can see that they deliver an accomplished brand of heavy rock that features some really impressive fretwork!
They have a new album due for release on July 27th and I’d urge you to check them out via their Facebook page.
Doomsday Outlaw are a UK five piece from Derby who play rock and roll like it’s 1994. Essentially a classic, blues influenced hard rock band but they’ve also got a bit of a grunge influence going on. Not so much Nirvana, more Temple of The Dog. To my ears they remind me of a harder edged Blind Melon or Black Crowes and I am quickly won over by their confident performance. It’s significant to note that the gathered crowd is a fairly modest one.
A lot of people are still filing into the venue or hanging back close to the bar. Less committed bands would be intimidated by the room being as sparsely populated as it is, but Doomsday Outlaw seem completely motivated to fill in the gaps with their own credence. Rather than take their foot off the gas, they step up and play as if they are headlining an arena show. Frontman, Phil Poole strides and preens across the stage like he’s channelling Mick Jagger. The guitar players criss-cross alongside him, changing places and throwing shapes while their drummer holds it all down with a solid beat. Thankfully, none of this comes across as contrived and there is a genuine sense of enjoyment coming from the stage. I’d bet that Doomsday Outlaw have a bright future ahead of them. I’d certainly recommend them as being worth the price of a ticket should they come through your town.
There is no doubt that Jizzy Pearl’s on-going annual trips to the UK stand as a testament to the appreciation that is still felt for a set of twenty to thirty year old songs. It also highlights the enduring appeal of Jizzy’s performances and in the break between bands, as the Love/Hate banner is stretched across the back wall of the stage, it is encouraging to see the venue filling up with an eager and anticipating audience. I’m also pleased to see that this isn’t just a nostalgia crowd.
In amongst the older rockers who were there “back in the day” there is a newer, younger generation of fans who have picked up on Jizzy’s vibe and seem just as eager to get a little Slutsy Tipsy tonight. When Jizzy takes the stage (to the woozy, psychedelia of Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced) it’s clear that he is also keen for this tour to not be a complete throwback. He has a brand new album to promote and with that in mind, he comes crashing in with High for an Eye from All You Need Is Soul. It’s a bold move, especially when considering the new album was only released two days ago, but it’s immediately clear the new material is strong enough to hold it’s own against the classics.
Indeed, Jizzy has said that All You Need Is Soul is the best thing he has put his name to since Blackout in the Red Room. The enthusiasm he feels for these songs is clearly evidenced by the way he throws himself into the opener. There is an obvious, infectious pride on display here and it’s a joy to acknowledge that Jizzy is still putting out quality music thirty years into his career. To emphasise the point, people are already banging along as though the song is an old favorite… Speaking of which, with a brief taste of the hear-and-now still ringing in our ears we are suddenly dragged, hurtling back to 1992 by Yucca Man’s opening riff.
He may have a new album out, but Jizzy knows what the crowd came here for so he leads the band into a volley of favorites. Tumbleweed and Spit come next and by the time we get to Fuel to Run the crowd are ecstatic. It’s also clear that Jizzy is in absolutely fine voice tonight. Quite simply, he sounds phenomenal. The years have done nothing to diminish the power of his delivery and he can still effortlessly hit those high notes. He also makes for a compelling frontman. Leaning into the crowd and moving about the stage. He seems completely at home, and quips with the crowd like a true raconteur. “I knew you wouldn’t let me down, London” he says with what seems like genuine appreciation for the reception he is given.
Backing Jizzy up tonight is a touring band that includes UK rocker and guitarist with the Hooligans, Stevie R Pearce. It’s fair to say, given the calibre of guitar players Jizzy had played with in the past, he has some impressive shoes to fill. He manages this with ease, and it’s credit to the whole band that they deliver Love/Hate’s deceptively simple arrangements effortlessly. Tranquiliser, Spinning Wheel and Mary Jane all sound on point and evoke a mass sing-a-long that climaxes with the rapturous crowd participation of Don’t Fuck With Me.
At this point in the show, It is time to drop in another new tune. After a brief spoken intro where Jizzo acknowledges the passing of time by way of being thankful he could still (just about) fit into his old clothes for this song’s video, the band launches into the punky, lead single from the new album, You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone. It’s a heads down, horns up rocker that holds just as much energy as everything that has gone before it. Jizzy acknowledges that the reviews of the new record have so far, been “excellent,” and on the strength of how this material sounds live, it’s easy to see why. Its only another brief taster of the new material though. From this point, we are back into classic territory.
We are given a rousing run through She’s An Angel, which unites the crowd in the by-now familiar chants of “yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!” before an absolutely crushing rendition of Straightjacket comes roaring from the stage. It sounds HEAVIER than I’ve ever heard it before and the crowd responds appropriately by pumping fists and shouting along to the “straight, straight, jacket” chorus. Evil Twin is up next, sounding as solid as ever and perfect for headbanging to. This leads us up to the three pronged climax of the natural set closers; Wasted in America, Why Do You Think They Call It Dope and Blackout in the Red Room.
The crowd responds with the biggest cheers of the night. Jizzy has ticked all the necessary boxes this evening, and the smiles on everyone’s faces are enough to ensure the band stick around for two more songs. All You Need Is Soul dips into the new album for the third time tonight and sounds reassuringly like it could have been lifted straight from the Let’s Rumble LP, then finally, with three minutes to fill, the show is brought to a close with one last visit to the Blackout’ album as the band plays us the classic drinking anthem, One More Round. After which we all rather appropriately head to the bar, Jizzo included!
The greatest thing about a Jizzy Pearl gig is that at no point do you ever feel like he is phoning it in. There is an undeniable passion in his performance that seems to come from a point of complete sincerity. There’s an extra appreciation for this when you consider that Jizzy is completely self managing this tour. He books the shows and the musicians, he sorts the finances, the travel arrangements and all of the elements that go into making a tour like this a success. To do all of that and STILL have the energy to put on a show like he did tonight is an incredible achievement.
Can we PLEASE do it all again next year?