Jesus Jones – Kings Arms, 10 March 2015

25 years after recording their hit album, Doubt, English rockers Jesus Jones brought it to life at Auckland’s Kings Arms, playing an expanded and updated  version of the classic album, then topping the night off with a few more choice tunes.

24 hours previously the Kings Arms was packed to the rafters with young hipsters anxious to see Parquet Courts, the up and coming band from Brooklyn. A day later things are a little different. The fans are older and there a lot fewer of them.

The ones that have made it out here on this Tuesday night are up for a little nostalgia in the form of Jesus Jones. This is the English band who, themselves attracted young hipsters a generation ago with their hit Right Here, Right Now.

The band is surprisingly intact.

Lead singer and guitarist Mike Edwards obviously takes his role of rock star seriously, looking fit and trim and tall. Bass player Al Doughty hit the stage rocking, showing off some impressive high leg kicks. Drummer Gen (Simon Matthews) looked like a man half his age and played with plenty of energy. Keyboard player Iain Baker, emerged, dressed in white and dancing and flailing wildly  behind his instrument. Only guitarist Jerry De Borg seemed a little worse for wear…looking like he had lived the rock and roll lifestyle over the years.

The band hit the stage at 9:45 and dove right into the first track on 1991 album, Doubt, and song called Trust Me. Edwards was in good form and Baker coaxed plenty of interesting bleeps and squeaks from his keyboard.

“We like to come here every quarter century or so”, quipped Edwards, referring to the band’s previous Auckland show back in the early 90s.

As the band made their way through the first half of Doubt, it became apparent that perhaps guitarist De Borg wasn’t operating at full strength. During Right Here, Right Now, which was the 5th song in the set, Edwards reached over to the guitarist’s instrument and adjusted a toggle switch for him while he played. The song itself sounded thin and disjointed…not like the anthem it had become.

AS they continued with Nothing To Hold Me, sweat was pouring from De Borg’s face and during Welcome Back Victoria, he seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to plug in his guitar.

After the song, Edwards told mentioned that he had only ever been in one fight and that was at the previous Auckland gig all those years ago. He implied it had been with De Borg and that there might be a rematch “in about 40 minutes”.

Jerry must have gotten the message because his playing and well-being seemed to improve 100% after that. He really came alive during Are You Satisfied, whipping up some impressive power chords, inspiring the crowd to jump and dance to the music.

The band continued to lock in for Two And Two and Stripped, the latter tune recently re-written because, according to Edwards, it was “kinda crap”.

By 10:30, the band had worked its way through the entire album. But they weren’t done.

The reinvigorated De Borg raised his arm and yelled, “Come on!” as they played Bring It On Down from the 1989 album, Liquidizer.

The five band members seemed to play tighter and better as the set progressed. They finally left the stage, one by one just before 11pm after Idiot Stare from 1993’s Perverse.

For the encore, Baker made a plea to buy T-shirts and albums from the merch desk, then they continued to rock impressively with Someone To Blame and Info Freako. Edwards’ mic cut out during the final song, but that didn’t slow things down, he switched to a different one and closed out the show in style.

By this time I would have liked to hear Right Here, Right Now played again…this time by the re-energized version of the band.

I hope no one was hurt after the show.

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view photo gallery by Michael Jeong:

Jesus Jones set list:

  1. Trust Me
  2. Who, Where, Why?
  3. International Bright Young Thing
  4. I’m Burning
  5. Right Here, Right Now
  6. Nothing To Hold Me
  7. Real, Real, Real
  8. Welcome Back Victoria
  9. Are You Satisfied?
  10. Two And Two
  11. Stripped
  12. Blissed
  13. Bring It On Down
  14. Zeroes And Ones
  15. Move Mountains
  16. Never Enough
  17. What Would You Know
  18. Idiot Stare
  19. Someone To Blame
  20. Info Freako