Monday, 15 September 2014

7/12/2013 JJ Rosa @ The Finsbury

Getting away from my more regular haunts this Saturday night I find myself in Finsbury Park at a venue I haven't visited before. The Finsbury is actually almost right next to Manor House station on the Piccadilly Line, but it's in easy walking distance from Finsbury Park station too. I wasn't really aware of this place before, although it has been putting on live music for a while. The pub is quite large and has been recently refurbished and refitted to make it a better venue for live music - I am quite impressed. Also, there are three bands playing tonight and it's free to get in. And they have a selection of real ales at decent prices as well as the usual rubbish beers. Actually, I am very impressed - it's almost as it they actually want me to come here.

The first band is playing as I arrive - a competent but unremarkable indie band called The Savage Nomads. I don't find anything particularly 'savage' about them though so I turn my attention to the bar - where I find the service is fast and the ale of good quality. This seems a pleasant enough place to spend time between bands - no need to look for a nearby Wetherspoons unlike at certain other venues....

Next act is the remarkable JJ Rosa - an artist I discovered by accident earlier this year but was immediately impressed by. Not as rock 'n' roll as most the bands I go and see, but it's good to have a change sometimes.
Imagine a female version of Prince, then throw in a bit of Lady Gaga (without the mental bits), some Hendrix (Jimi, but then again maybe some Nona too) and Orianthi - then you are sort of in the right ball park. Only JJ Rosa's ball park is in Manchester, England. She has moved to London now though, so gigs in the capital are more regular now.
This lady has a pretty good band, a tight but fluid rhythm section to back her up. She has a good soul voice too, and a knack for a decent song. She can play a mean guitar when she want's too as well, but her style is sparse and economical - wrapping guitar around the songs and weaving into them rather than just blasting her way through them.
JJ Rosa can rip it up too, and the rockers amongst us can enjoy seeing her throwing shapes and wringing out guitar solos you really wouldn't expect from a more pop MOR performer - no autotune, hidden musicians or backing tracks needed by this lady. This is the real deal.
It's very rarely that you see someone performing in a pub or club and genuinely think they could soon be on radio and TV, although it doesn't seem long ago that I regularly saw Anna Calvi playing as a backing guitarist in another band - now she's on 6Music all the time and often on TV too. JJ Rosa has the chops  and the single minded determination to make that step to the next level - catch her playing in pubs while you still can. ;-)

Oh yes, there was another band on too. The only act on tonight's bill that I'd actually heard of was JJ Rosa, but the headliners are actually very good. They are Escapists and they are definitely a bit special. Apart from the excellent Jonny Cola & The A-Grades (who really should be playing here) this is the only indie band in years who have impressed me at all as live performers. No shoegazing here - these guys rock out and are dynamic and intense. I'm sure some BBC hipster DJ with be 'discovering' this lot and raving about them soon. Remember where you heard about them and JJ Rosa first folks.... ;-)

No comments:

Post a Comment