17th March 2019
Review By: Beandog
Over the past few years, Jizzy Pearl has established his annual performance at Camden’s Underworld as a reassuringly regular event.
Each touring cycle appears to be as-close-as-dammit to a sell out, which represents a clear testament to the enduring appeal of Jizzy’s voice and the music of his most revered band: Love/Hate.
He has maintained a long, committed career, yielding a number of solo releases – but despite this, King Jizzo knows his audience well. He understands that from a touring perspective, it’s the music of his early nineties band that keeps bringing the people into the clubs.
This tour – as much as the ones before it – features Love/Hate’s name as prominently on the posters as it does the frontman’s own. As the arriving fans descend into the venue, I think it’s universally understood there are no surprises planned tonight. We are, I am sure, in for another celebratory sing-a-long through a retrospective of some well loved tunes.
Before any of that gets underway, there’s a bumper crop of support bands lined up to get people acclimated to some Sunday night rock and roll.
Unfortunately for Silk Road, it’s an inevitability that the opening act on a four band bill will be playing to a sparsely populated venue.
I have to hold my hands up and say I was among those who were yet to turn up when they took the stage and I missed their set – but having checked them out on-line I am happy to discover an appealing crew of bluesy rockers with some grunge overtones. The deft guitar work of Rory Drohan stands out as a particular highlight. Worth checking out if you enjoy bands like The Answer or Electric Mary.
When I do make my arrival, I stop at the bar to get myself a pint of Guinness (it is St. Patrick’s Day after all) and The Brink are already in full swing.
A British band, who have honed their commercial edge for a wider appeal, much in the same way Def Leppard polished their NWOBHM for an American market or Judas Priest embellished their metal with pop hooks for the Turbo album, The Brink have a rousing, anthemic quality that sits well with their bold image.
I have no doubt, the band’s obvious enthusiasm and the riotous nature of the music wins them a few new fans this evening. I predict a peak in their success, helped in no small part by an exuberant performance of their new single (Break These Chains) and the pending release of their upcoming, debut album.
From here we transfer from the newcomers to the veterans of the scene – for many, the inclusion of Pretty Boy Floyd on tonight’s line up has made this a double headlining show. Their career has been just as long as Jizzy Pearl’s and it’s unsurprising to see a good portion of the crowd singing along to songs like Your Momma Won’t Know and the Mama Kin sound-a-like, Forty Eight Hours.
Tonight, the band are celebrating because it’s the anniversary of their debut album, Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz. An album that seems familiar to many in attendance. People raise their fists and holler the lyrics back at the stage. Pretty Boy Floyd reward this appreciation by giving away free patches and DVDs between the raucous and raunchy tunes.
They keep it sleazy throughout, tipping their hats to the uncrowned kings of glam via a rampant cover of Motley Crue’s Live Wire at the end. This final song plays as an energetic conclusion to a fun set.
By the time the main event comes around, glasses have been filled and so has the venue. Jizzy and his band waste no time in firing up the rock and roll as they slam into the bruising opener, Spinning Wheel.
While the fans get on with the important business of singing as loud as they can, some on-stage sound problems appear to be causing frustration for the band. Initially, Jizzy looks irritated and makes a couple of trips to the side of the stage to give some pointers to the engineer.
Thankfully, the audience is spared from whatever cacophony might be occurring in the band’s in-ear monitors, but the wincing on the faces of the musicians implies some serious problems.
Jizzy’s cool breaks momentarily as he directs a quick, “really, dude?!” towards the sound desk, but any problems seem to get resolved as the band power through, The Boozer and into Tumbleweed.
King Jizzo gives a subtle “OK” signal to the engineer and everyone seems satisfied. We have lift off.
Also, it’s not that the opening triplet of tunes didn’t sound perfectly executed. Everyone is on point, but there’s a reassuring confidence that kicks in for Yucca Man and springboards the performance into a barrage of classic material.
For this tour Jizzy is using the same hired band he has for the past couple of UK tours. Christian Kimmett does an admirable job recreating those slippery Skid bass lines. He is backed up by Mickey Richards on drums and flanked by Stevie R. Pierce on guitar. Stevie rips it up effortlessly, which is no mean feat given the calibre of guitar playing across Love/Hate’s career.
Jizzy screams out over the top of the music. On Fuel To Run I am reminded of what a phenomenally great voice he has, effortless hitting the top of his range before demonstrating a cool versatility by using his deep timbre for the punchy choruses of Straightjacket.
Age has not robbed him of any vocal power – which is a significant point to make because today is Jizzy’s birthday! The occasion is marked with a joyful rendition of Happy Birthday from the fans, complete with candles on a cake, presented to him by his grinning wife.
The jubilant atmosphere is increased as a member of the crew emerges in the crowd, dressed as a giant banana, with the sole aim of making Jizzo laugh. Which he succeeds in doing, almost causing the frontman to fluff his lines. By this time, the evening has hit its usual high with the audience clearly loving songs like Mary Jane and a unifying rendition of Don’t Fuck With Me.
In amongst the Love/Hate classics, Jizzy and the band give some time over to celebrate last year’s All You Need Is Soul album by playing You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone.
It’s a sentiment that seems entirely accurate given the rapturous reception given to each song this evening.
Thankfully, Jizzy is showing no signs of preparing for retirement and makes a point of reminding everyone that next year will mark the 30th Anniversary of Love/Hate’s triumphant, Blackout In The Red Room album. You can sense everyone in the room setting the date in their mental calendar.
Much of the remaining set is given over to the aforementioned record. She’s An Angel is given an airing, as is Why Do You Think They Call It Dope. Then, of course, the title track wipes the floor with everyone, reminding us all that they just don’t make ’em like this anymore
There is time for just one encore tonight. Jizzy returns to All You Need Is Soul and leads his band through High For An Eye. The audience welcome this tune with as much noise as they’ve given to the older favourites. Further proof that Jizzo has a lot left to give.
Which he does. Immediately after his performance he heads straight to the merch’ stand to sign autographs, shake hands and say hello.
It’s been a fantastic night.
I have no doubt most of us will be here at the same time next year.