Jawbone - Live at Inchyra Arts

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The band Jawbone are named after the second-best song by one of my favourite ever band, a band confusingly monikered 'The Band'.  'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down' is obviously The Band's greatest track (peer-reviewed research has proven as much and to claim otherwise would be the musical equivalent of climate change denial) but 'Jawbone' runs it a close second.

I'm such a big fan of Robertson, Helm, Hudson, Danko and Manuel that I booked my ticket for Jawbone before I'd even heard a single note of their music.  They say you should never judge a book by its cover but I reckon if the book has a massive picture of The Band on it then that idiom can get itself to f*ck.

Before the gig, I did get the chance to check out Jawbones videos on YouTube and their eponymous debut album on Spotify.  I wasn't disappointed and have been listening to it pretty much on repeat since last week.

Jawbone takes to the stage with album opener 'Leaves No Traces', a solid slice of Rock n' Roll that showcases guitarist Marcus Bonfanti's growling baritone and the coda's swirling harmonies sound epic.  They follow this up with tracks number two The rhythm section of Rex Horan and Marcus Bonfanti sounds amazing, sort of like Isaac Hayes, and by that, I mean chunky and soulful. and three from the album, 'Get What You Deserve' and 'When Your Gun is loaded'.  

The lyrics of 'Get What You Deserve' detail a band on fire and that is certainly what we are seeing tonight.  The rhythm section of Rex Horan and Marcus Bonfanti sounds amazing, sort of like Isaac Hayes, and by that, I mean chunky and soulful.  Paddy Milner's alternates between whistling organ and finger bleeding boogie-woogie piano riffs and the three-part harmonies round out the sound nicely.

Jawbone take a little breather from original material with a cover The Bands 'Rag Mama Rag' also from The Band's second album.  Paddy takes a verse and I notice a hint of the great nicotine and whisky stained Dr. John's voice and a huge dollop of his voodoo soaked influence on his piano playing.  'Rag Mama Rag' also benefits greatly from the addition of a Marcus Bonfnati solo.

The first half of the show ends with a brand new song, so new that I have no idea what it's called, but if the rest of the material on the second album is going to be up to this standard it's going to be a belter.  The chorus is an extended game metaphor, something along the lines of, 'paper scissor stone, it was never a game 'Rolling in The Underground' has a meaty riff that really hits you in the gut.  There is something so infectiously good-natured about it that it can't help but make you smile.to me but you were playing the best of three'.  It's catchy as hell and I can't wait to hear the recorded version.

The second half of the show begins with the single 'Rolling In The Underground'.  This is probably my favourite song from the album, the meaty riff really hits you in the gut.  There is something so good-naturedly infectious about it that it can't help but make you smile.  I also love the blend of voices and the way Marcus and Paddy trade verses and there's some cracking rhythm piano playing too.

Song of the night though is 'Sit Around The Table.  Hearing it live makes me really appreciate what a great piece of heartfelt songwriting it is.  The best way to Jawbone - Livedescribe it is as a sort of platonic version of Crosby, Stills and Nash's 'Our House'.  It has that same sense of place and belonging, plus three-part harmonies that are a close rival to the classic trio's.

The second new song of the evening is also a strong contender for the second album.  To be honest I was so busy enjoying it that I forgot to take any notes but I do remember that it had some amazing Heroes and Villainsesque cantina-style tack piano. 

Jawbone end the show by picking up a bunch of brass instruments and a snare drum and heading into the audience Preservation Hall Jazz Band Style, regaling the audience with a completely transformed, possibly improvised, call and response version of 'Big Old Smoke.'  Jawbone then walk right out of the building, possibly into a field, still singing and playing.


After the show, I queue up to buy a copy of Jawbones debut album and chat with Rex as I wait for the guys to sign it.  Rex is from Perth too, but the one in Western Australia.  "You guys say 'Pereth'", he tells me,  "but we say 'Purth.'"  After I get my cd signed Lady Inchyra arranges a quick impromptu interview with Rex is from Perth too, but the one in Western Australia.  "You guys say 'Pereth'", he tells me,  "but we say 'Purth.'" Paddy and Marcus.  Here it is.

You are obviously named after a song by The Band, I take it they are a huge influence?

Paddy: Definitely, along with a lot of other people, they are an influence that all four of us have in common.

Marcus: There is a lot of great vocalists in that band and they all take turns at singing lead and each of them brings their own thing to the songs.  We like that, and because me and Paddy and Rex all sing we have that same facility within Jawbone.  The audience like hearing a different voice every now and then.  I remember going to see Gomez when I was younger and getting that feel from them too.

And Paddy you actually got to meet and play with Garth Hudson of The Band?

Yeah, I did of tour of New Zealand with Garth.  It was about 3 years, they were recreating 'The Last Waltz' concert.  They reached out to the remaining members of the band and both Garth and the producer of The Bands first two albums, John Simon, agreed to do it.  John MC'd it and Garth did his thing, he had a big old solo section that went off on amazing tangents.

I thought I could hear a wee bit of a Dr John influence in your vocals.

Oh yeah, I love Dr. John, I'm a huge fan.  I've played a lot of his stuff over the years.

The new material sounds really, really good.  When are you getting back in the studio?

Paddy : We're looking at recording in January and then we'll see how the land lies.  This is very much a band we do because we love it.  We all play with other people and have other projects, I've been touring with Tom Jones.  The songs will definitely be out at some point next year.

I read that you primarily record live, is that true?

Paddy: The first record was tracked live and then we recorded the vocals and overdubs.

Marcus: I don't know how we will do this next one.  When we recorded this one we weren't exactly sure what the band could do as a unit.  Now that we've toured a lot we've had a lot more time to experiment so we could maybe try doing it totally live, we've got a lot more options now.

It's a great live set-up a four-piece including keys, it makes for a really big sound.

Marcus: It's a nice mixture but it has got to be the right four individuals that gel well together, and that's what we have.  When I think about it all of the bands I love seem to have some element of keyboards in them.  We are big fans of Little Feat and The Faces, and even The Stones records always had great keys on them. 

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