Review – Jools at The Cookie, 2nd February 2019

with Boarder and Smack Jack

Reviewed by Aleksandra Brzezicka.

Welcome the new punx in town. Jools, savagely smashing their debut/headline gig, are the exciting addition to the Leicester music crew. Supported by Smack Jack and Boarder, they performed as the part of the Independent Venue Week at The Cookie.

Smack Jack got the crowd heavily tripping on their psychedelic grunge in another dimension. Four-piece Leicester band introduced their first song – Helen From Marketing. Having broken the ice, they performed Totalitarian Vegetarian, absolutely owning the stage with distorted sounds and Josh St Clair’s eyes-rolling to sustain the rule through the rest of the set including energetic Who Knows, Stay Sober and Le Secrata. Re-interpretation of the AC/DC Can I Sit Next to You Girl worked disturbingly well. Respect for the solos. Josh St Clair (vocal/guitar), Sam Masters (guitar), Joel Cane (drums) and Louis Wakeling (bass) created a truly unique sound, intelligently layered, aggressive and progressive. They’ve got IT.

Smack Jack Photo: Kevin Gaughan

Next on, self-describing as DIY fuzz rock, Boarder, showed a different angle of the alternative. Influenced by 90s grunge, the three-piece band not merely repeats past icons but gives their tracks a modern feel. Starting with Bad Roots, went on to Chew, introduced by the vocalist aka frontman Lucie Blair as ‘old, but not very good,’ happened to be a nice composition in spite of the bad marketing.

Hypnotically rhythmic drums added flavour to the straightforward Stranger while Alright was definitely a more interesting composition than the name suggests. The next song was almost an instrumental (if ‘oh-oh’ counts as lyrics) as yet, untitled. Boarder finished with Black Hole, their newest recorded single full of nonchalant riffs and pleasant vocals. Worth checking out.

Boarder Photo: Kevin Gaughan

The crowd was buzzing ten minutes before Jools took the stage. Screaming, waiting, stepping on each other’s feet. Excitement peaked when the band promptly arrived, half of them wearing proper suits (are the mods back?).

Mitch Gordon, vocalist, raised arms in the air, Jesus-like announcing the beginning of the show – 13 Bastards. Groovy intro transformed into roaring tunes with sharp, rap-like vocal. Rest of the set included – Dreamworld, All This Time, Third Cousin and Working Class Hero. Song after song, it got wilder, perfectly imprecise and more political along with Mitch kneeling, dramatically gesticulating, jumping off and on stage. Benjamin Lewis-Skeath on drums, Tom Selby on bass, Ellis Crowson, Sam Shooter and Chris Johnston on guitars, brought the essence of post-punk energy, smartly and impactfully.

Jools Photo: Kevin Gaughan

Leaving the best for last, Hand To Yourself stood out with it’s original composition while their debut single Good Morning Britain bravely laughed at the well-known (hated) breakfast show. Quoting the band, f**k Piers Morgan. Long live Jools.

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