Before we get the music a quick review of the venue. Bush Hall is in Shepherds Bush area of London and a great place to see bands. It’s a small, intimate if you are doing PR for the place, venue. A bit like watching a band in your front room, providing your front room has a small stage at the front and chandeliers. If it does you probably live in Downton Abbey or just down the road from Bush Hall in Buck Palace. Concerts are always good value.
And so the gig. Jess, of Jess & the Bandits, is from Texas but her bandits are all from the UK. which perhaps reflects the growing interest in country music in the UK, influenced by a new wave of US artists.
I first came across J&tB when they played on the late Sir Terry Wogan’s Sunday morning show, a performance she mentioned at the concert before playing their excellent cover version of the Jimmy Webb classic Wichita Lineman.
Although the band has only one album behind, Here we go Again, them the mix of songs means that they can up the tempo and slow it down without losing the audience because of the quality of the material. Ready Set is a great romp of a track and Nitty Gritty deserves to be an anthem for equality. As well as the cover of Wichita Lineman the band also do a neat cover of Mamma Told me not to Come and you felt that you were with them at the slightly dodgy party described in the song.
Because Bush Hall is so small it could be difficult to get the sound mix right for a five piece band but they do a good job and you get the feeling that these guys could make you feel up-close and personal in even the biggest venue. I did feel sorry for the drummer, who didn’t have a full set of drums but sat on and played what appeared to be a tea-chest, but was, I guess, a bit more hi-tech.
Before we close, a quick mention for Luke and Mel who supported J&tB. Like the headliners they have played Country 2 Country and have a number of British Country Music Awards to their name. Good performers, good songwriters and well worth checking out.