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JADED SUN ‘GYPSY TRIP’ LAUNCH - The Village - 29/03/08


The Village

I previously reviewed “Jaded Sun” in 2007, so I felt privileged when I was invited to go and see them again. This time things were a lot different however, in that they were performing in a bigger venue.
Arriving a little after the first band 'SWANEE RIVER' had begun their set, I was pretty impressed with how polished and exciting their sound was. They were getting a huge response from the audience and I found myself having to squeeze in somewhere to get a vantage point.
I love classic rock and when it comes to raspy vocals, outstanding ballsy riffs and a beat to blow you away, they have it all! Wow! Hailing from Derry, they consist of Stevie Horner lead vocals, Graham Baldrick lead guitar, Marc Forbes bass and Conor McCauley, drums.
These amazing young men were Northern Ireland 'Battle of the bands' champions in 2006 which does not surprise me. They are sexy, with lots of heavy rock influences coming through such as Led Zeppelin, Creedance Clearwater revival and AC/DC. All that is sexy about rock!
Stevie had lots of interaction with the crowd, who seemed to love him. He did a lot of high jinx and sexy moves, using the mike stand as he sang. This band exuded charisma and definitely got the party mood going.
They were brilliant, but the most enjoyable number for me was their final song, 'Let your love shine on me'. Before they started it, Stevie thanked the audience and JADED SUN
In his gorgeous northern accent!
This song stood out from the rest, with a really special melody line and a chorus that everybody sang along to. The drummer did a solo as did each musician and as they did so; Stevie introduced them which was a lovely, appealing touch!

JADED SUN took their places to roars of appreciation from the thickening crowd. John Maher, sporting a crisp white shirt, stepped up to the mike and with his disarmingly sexy voice, launched into 'BREAKING THROUGH'. This good ol' fashioned Rock'n'roll number started with a sweet guitar intro, backed by an adrenaline-pumping, dramatic drumbeat. It's the perfect way to wake you up with choppy chords, a screaming lead solo, plus a tantalising melody and lyrics.
I noticed how cunningly placed lighting and a puff of dry-ice creating smoke, added great visuals to the scene. Guitar riffs and hooks played by the two most talented rock guitarists in the land 'Sean Gosker' and 'Eorann Stafford', brought the second number to life, CRAZY MAN!
Lots of distortion, sweet chord combinations and a foot-stomping beat gives this song a real AC/DC feel. Also a beautiful solo, played on harmonica gave it character and a full sound. Damien Kelly on bass can do no wrong as his gorgeously cheeky riffs come through in this and all songs. My favourite part of this song is the middle eight, sung in close harmony before you're treated to another sexy harmonica break. Then all the stops are pulled out with a screaming lead solo, complimented by the second guitar to pure perfection just before the final chorus. Then the whole distortion packed thing winds down to a big STOP!
FEVER – I just loved the way John went down on his knees in this one. This number has a really seductive lead guitar riff with sweet choppy chords plus lots of changes of tempo to create great drama. You hear some amazing lead solos, sweet bass riffs and little stops in just the right places to give it a really heavy rock feel. Surprisingly there is a very slow, romantic softly sung middle eight, before climbing back up again to the wild and action packed chorus and you're given the FULL MONTY of drum rolls, screaming lead guitar and a finish fit to burst an elephant's eardrums!

HEY YOU- Backing vocalists came on for this as John opened his white shirt, revealing
A tanned, toned six pack. I don't know which I preferred looking at; the new arrivals on stage or John's teasingly fit body! Wondering if he was going to strip to the waist like he did in Eamonn Doran's last year to show off his tattoo, I forced myself to focus on the noticeable difference that the girls made to the sound and the scene as a whole!

Keyboards came in; giving a blues/rock style to things and with the little refrain sung by the girls, 'The Commitments' film came to mind. With a slinky and sexy verse and a gorgeous upbeat chorus, this number is so choppy and seductive. John's vocal ability is brought to the fore, with little 'oohs' in the background as it slides from line to line. A hint of harmonica is injected and of course the two lads throw in lots of beautiful guitar riffs to bewitch the listener.

This gig was far more superior to the one I reviewed last year in Doran's in that for one thing, the backing vocalists weren't on that night. I don't remember Shane on keyboards there either. Possibly this is because it is such a smaller venue than 'The Village'.
There seemed to be such a complete and compact sound now and hearing the tracks of 'Gypsy Trip' live was for me an emotional trip. I've grown so fond of the c.d since obtaining a copy just after the last gig.

The next song was introduced by Damien Kelly, the bass player. He dedicated it to his Dad whose 60th birthday was being celebrated.
STAY WITH ME- I hadn't heard this song before even though I've heard lots of 'Jaded Sun' thanks to my two nephews, devout fans and both very talented guitarists themselves.
With a choppy tempo, memorable melody, Eorann and Sean playing two guitars in synch using sliding riffs and a slowing down of pace, it really IS special! This wonderful number speeds up again, with Shane playing some mind-blowing improvisation on piano and as it eventually wound down again to a BIG drum rolling finish, a huge round of applause went up as John remarked on the pianist's amazing solo and calling for a show of appreciation! I have to say, Shane's presence AND indeed the backing vocalists added that extra bit of spice to the proceedings here.

My favourite song was next, CAN'T STOP! The piano definitely makes a difference here and the place was just electric! This fast classic rock style number with a sexy riff repeated in each chorus, perfect harmony and a beat that's extremely addictive made me want to get up, shake my head to the beat and play my air guitar. What's marvellous about this number is the way it starts off easy going and then gradually develops into a crazy frenzy for the chorus.

The piano once again bashed out some really rockin' chords creating lots of excitement, with the girls doing wonderful harmony and those guitar solos to die for going on. As the explosive chorus was belted out by all and the audience sung it out loud and clear, there were one or two unexpected little changes of tempo. It slows down to a gentle guitar solo then like lots of Jaded's stuff goes back up again, in a climbing choppy lead riff then it's back to the mad chorus of 'Can't stop thinking, can't stop thinking of you!'
This performance was just beyond all my expectations. What more can I say only 'I can't stop listening!'

John introduced the next number emphasising how much it means to him. Starting off with a softly played guitar intro, YOU'RE SWEETNESS was sung with real emotion and commanded a reverent calm in the place, as John and the rest of the band performed this gorgeously sweet song to seamless perfection! Dramatic drum rolls, heartfelt lyrics and beautiful guitar solos filtered through, making you feel like you're the only one in the room as he sings to you. Ah! What a romantic I am!
SHE'S GOT CLASS- This number which was supposed to be the last one, has a stroppy beat and a semi Cajun style to it. It's slinky and you hear some great harmony sung by the backing vocalists. You just have to stomp your feet and clap along to it, as the chorus of 'Gimme some of that sweet wine!' is sexily sung. John? You can have some of my sweet wine, anytime!

As an encore, they did a song I love almost as much a s 'Can't stop'. HIGHER! After a good five minutes of 'We want more' being yelled up from the audience, the lads took to the stage to start this cheeky number with a great rock'n'roll intro. Lovely ballsy bass accompanies John's first verse, and then the chorus is sung with the voices of the girls singing an echo behind each line. Indescribably brilliant guitar riffs, screaming solos and a great bit of harmony brought the atmosphere up to MANIC level! The crowd just yelled 'We won't go' after this. HIGHER is right!
They finally ended the evening on a POSITIVE note! Guitarists got to shine here as this QUO-Style number with sweet rock'n'roll chords was belted out, bringing the mood back up to a feverish level. A sweat-soaked and now shirtless John Maher sung with his endless NRG and mind-boggling stamina! Yes, we got to see the tattoo at last! I think it says 'jaded Sun'. Anyhow, the show that this band put on was matchless and as the Bass player Damien Kelly thanked everybody followed by a breathless John, the whole band came to the front of the stage to take a bow. The applause ripped out from the crowd. I could never have imagined this band improving on the last gig I witnessed. But improve on it they did. This one was simply OUT OF THIS WORLD. I'll be back for more.

Angela Macari-O'Looney

Review written by: Angela Macari-O’Looney --

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