JAZZHANDS @ Liverpool Sound City (Friday 22nd May)

Sound CityAfter listening to Polar States I was wandering round Sound City like a chicken without its dick. I wanted a drink but the queue was too big. I wanted a piss but so did the entirety of the festival. I walked past a girl being dragged away from the intensity. Her pupils were closer to the back of her skull than the front. What was she on? Then a friendly face. Finney, drummer with Jazzhands; or should I say, one of the drummers with JazzHands. JazzHands are definitely one of the most experimental bands I have ever had the privilege of hearing. But my ears normally disagree the morning after when all is muffled and muffled is all. Multiple drummers, saxophone, keys, and lots and lots of bass. They opened with something chaotic. Lunaticia is the word I’d used to describe them. In seconds a huge array of people formed around their non-existing stage. Imagine Miles Davis on a fuck load of drugs… Oh… Or imagine a circus in hell and there’s a disco on and At The Drive In where scheduled to play but they couldn’t turn up so they just play their Jools Holland performance of One Armed Scissor over and over and over again. That’s a bit like a mellowed down JazzHands. They were crazy live. All dressed in orange. Some shirtless, others not, one guy hitting a cowbell like it just won’t die – he’s wearing an orange balaclava, or more precisely, not a balaclava but an orange version of that horrible thing Hannibal Lecter wears when they bring him out of the cage. ‘How do I capture such structured chaos?’ I wondered as ‘Dead As Gold’ kicked in and the crowd was reduced to a blurry swaying of hair. The guy in the face mask was running around, up and down, squaring up to people, hitting people with his sticks. The bass player was doing handstands. All amongst a backdrop soundtrack of madness. Finney threw down his sticks and ran into the crowd as a guy from the audience replaced him. Pure lunaticia. Mayhem. And in an instant the guy with the facemask climbed an eight foot portable toilet and stood on its plastic ceiling whilst receiving a cheer from the crowd. I cheered also. Finally… However all was not brilliant. The cold sea breeze blew with it a sense of cold sadness. Slight melancholia in the midst of all the maddening beauty. Just a few docks down stands Clarence Dock and where their gate used to be is a plaque which reads, ‘through these gates passed most of the 1,300,000 Irish migrants who fled from the Great Famine and took the ship to Liverpool.’ I reflected. If only they knew what would be waiting for them. ‘Go west don’t go east. A famine or a feast.’ The guy in the face mask jumped down from his podium of grace as the flash from a thousand cameras caught his stance for a split second instant. He hit the ground and rolled onto his back. He played the cowbell once more as the cacophony of noise continued before crawling to his feet.

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

The gig wasn’t structured either. It was just pure spontaneity and chaos. Ladies and gentlemen, JazzHands. The definition of organised chaos.

Review By Joe Loftus



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