Between the two bands on the bill, I knew about 1.2 songs between them. I know Jet's "Cold Hard Bitch" and the bit of "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" from the iPod commercial. Needless to say, I recognized those two, and only those two, songs. Not exactly the best way to go in, but so be it. I'm always up for checking out different music, and the live avenue just may be the best way to do it.
The evening was a true world event, with The Blue Van from Denmark and Jet from Australia playing at one of the best kept club secrets in New York. The Chance Theater is a great venue for a rock show. It may not be the biggest place you will ever see, but you probably won't find a better group of music lovers, and the intimate setting of the small confines just adds to the charm of playing here. The club has a lot of history, including the first US performance of a then little known trio from England called The Police. Many bands have had great shows since then, and on their first visits, The Blue Van and Jet responded by putting on a big rock and roll show that went over huge and will hopefully encourage them both to make another pass through town.
The Blue Van was the first band to take the stage. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from them, not knowing a single song. It seems that I wasn't alone, as during the lengthy wait for their appearance, I overheard a number of people wondering who they were and what kind of music they would be playing. When they did finally come out, they played music that was fresh, high energy, and well versed in the sounds of the '60s and '70s with a modern spin. You could here influences such as the Beatles, The Who, and The Kinks throughout the sound. Their stage space was limited by the combination of theirs and Jets' equipment, but they made great use of what they had, making the stage seem a lot bigger than it was. Like I have said, I did not know any of the songs, but I do remember some of the songs they did play, they included "Revelation of Love," "Goldmind," "I Want You," "Baby, I've Got Time," "Independence," and "New Slough."
I was impressed, to say the least. Is it music that I would find myself listening to a lot? No, probably not, once in awhile to be certain. The music is good, but it isn’t in my usual realm (exemplified by my standing out at the show in my Pantera shirt). The music is catchy, and has a fresh sound even when incorporating all of those influences of the past. Everything comes together in a highly energetic stage show. They exhibited a great amount of charisma, and played to the back of the house, bringing everyone in. I do have to mention Allan Villadsen, the bass player, was all over the place, besides having a great sound. His presence was highlighted by climbing up on Soren Christensen’s organ, continuing his wild movements before leaping from the organ, across the stage, landing in a powerslide.
Overall, these guys put on an impressive live show. They have some good songs, and won over a lot of people in the crowd. I probably could have listened to a few more songs once their set ended.
Now, it was time for Jet. By then, the club had filled up at least near capacity, if not sold out. This is a band whose one single I knew, I liked, but I wasn't sure how well I would like the rest of the catalog. It turns out, I liked them very much. They have the whole rock star stage presence down, but without the pretensions, no illusions of grandeur. They came out, the crowd went wild, and the songs just flat out rocked. I cannot really comment on how well the songs were played versus the album recordings, but I can say that everything they played live, flat out rocked. From start to finish, the music was loud, the band was tight, and the crowd was loud. It all came together in this cacophony of a rock show.
Much like The Blue Van, Jet made the most of the stage. They made it look and feel more like an arena show. Watching Nic Cester work the stage reminded me of something I heard Bruce Dickinson say about how the frontman has to play to the people in the back row and make the venue seem smaller, involving everyone in the audience, it was a great thing. While the first rate lights show made everything seem big, the band made it intimate, quite a feat.
They were onstage for over 90 minutes, including the three song encore, and they have won a new fan in me. Jet has a stripped down straight rock and roll sound and they play it well. During "Cold Hard Bitch," Nic balanced on the railing that goes around the pit area, completely circumnavigating the pit, all while continuing to play. It was a great thing to see, something he partially repeated during the final song of the set proper. They left the stage briefly, before returning for a three song encore, which still left us wanting more.
Overall, this was a great show, lots of rock music played well, a large receptive crowd, and a number of new fans created in the process. I may not have known much of the music, but I certainly got into what I heard. Live music is always a strong lure, if its rock, and it rocks, I'm there. Best I can say is, if Jet and The Van pass through your town, do not hesitate, get out there and see them. You won't be disappointed.
Set List, may not be accurate, but should be close:
- Come On Come On
- Get What You Need
- Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
- Skin & Bones
- Take It or Leave It
- Move On
- King's Horses
- Look What You've Done
- Bring It On Back
- Are You Gonna Be My Girl
- That's All Lies
- Rip It Up
- Cold Hard Bitch
- Stand Up
- Get Me Out of Here
- All You Have to Do
- Shine On
- Rollover DJ