The first thing that strikes you as you step into the ABC (other than that disco ball) ring is ooo noise – noise noise noise.
The Preacher frontman up there might be moving his lips but all we in attendance can hear is noise.
This theme of noise unfortunately proves to overshadow everybody’s efforts this evening.
Tonight sees Preacher and Jiezuberband co-headlining ‘the big ABC’.
Clearly any act that has a comic strip of themselves hasn’t left their sense of humour at the front door, something that, sadly, can’t be said of co headliners – Preacher, who come across as trying just a little too hard tonight.
While no doubt they are a capable live act it all feels a little forced as frontman Martin Murphy tries to drum up some crowd participation.
Something that should be taken seriously is sound mixing within the venue, not for the first time both bands suffer, half the time vocals are completely lost amongst a wall of noise that doesn’t help do justice to either band tonight.
If nothing else Jiezuberband can be remembered for possibly setting a new record for persons on ABC’s stage at the one time.
Fifteen at the last count but as soon as the set begins somehow they manage to blend perfectly.
Fleshing out their sound tonight is a four-piece string quartet along with five backing vocalists.
With funk, tribal rock, soul and blues elements to their sound its difficult to pigeon hole Jiezuberband.
Following the pretentious overtones of Preacher, Jiezuberband provide a welcome contrast to the former; singer John Strachan manages to work rather than dictate the masses.
Powering into musical passage after musical passage with seamless grace, the six-piece band and company fill the space with tasteful playing that never tries to do more than a song requires.
Keys man Mikey Grant stands out as an integral part of the performance, providing flourishes of texture that propels the varying layers of sound.
Behind the colourful attire (collection of kilts/bandanas/velvet) is an outfit with no small amount of talent.
They play with a real passion tonight showcasing new material named Five of Pentacles, all the while battling the under wateresque mixing.
Tracks like ‘Phoenix Rising’ are a bizarre cross between the symphonic bombast of early Meat Loaf and ‘In the Court of Crimson King’.
As well as keyboard wizardry special mention should also go out to drummer Alasdair Gibson who manages to rise above the venues messy sound, I had to actually check the drum kit hadn’t been entirely destroyed by the end of ‘Phoenix Rising’.
All in all, with performances such as this and album Five of Pentacles on the way the future looks bright for this collection of vagabonds.
Whether they gain the audience deserving of their talents at home remains to be seen, but on this evidence Jiezuberband shouldn’t stay an unsigned act much longer.
Should they continue along their current projectorary it’s safe to say updating their comic book might come low on the priorities list.
Certainly, Jiezuberband are a world away from the typical pop-dance regurgitated music that plagues the industry today.
Blues? Tribal rock? Space rock? Psychedelic? Prog rock? Symphonic rock? Who cares?
Words: Andy Quigley
Photos: Beth Chalmers