Family Jools // Live Review & Photoset

15th August | Mothers Ruin

Photos: Jon Kean

Where could possibly be more fitting to host a slew of homegrown rock and roll than that finest of establishments, The Mothers Ruin? Nowhere, obviously. In the creaking eves of this Bristol institution, the pomp and purpose of a well-placed riff truly finds its home.

The off-puttingly named LoveButter wield a musicality far beyond that expected from their name alone. Opening with a distinctive air of scorching guitar, befitting of John Fruciante or Josh Homme, it seems this band are unwilling to let the 80s die, which is completely forgivable given just how talented these blokes are. A strong, melodic backbone supports the palpable showmanship exuded by their vocalist, Bobby Palumbo, who exists purely within the spirit of garage-rock charisma. Firing out multiple cuts that range from tones of The Hives to U2 it becomes painfully clear that this band know their shit and aren’t afraid to have fun with it.

Sapphire Blues land like the long-lost twin brother of Joe Strummer, their bullish aggression melding perfectly with the punk-laden overtones of their catalogue. Reminding me of another of my favorite recent bands, Talk Show, there is a looming skittish fog that encompasses their otherwise masculine vitality, adding an impressive layer of depth to their unapologetically catchy tracks. With elements of early-00s indie positivity there’s a depth of influence on show here, executed in an almost flawless manner.

Luvia is a surprising detour in terms of tonight’s bill, though certainly a pleasant one. With an air of Kate Bush’s whimsical howls, Luvia’s haunting, and at times morose songwriting is atmospheric in the grandest of senses. Simplistic and emotionally heavy, it would appear that this artist leans on the blues approach to songwriting, leaving ample space for the impact of her personality to melt into her music. The croaks, cracks and whispers of her idiosyncratic vocal ability work to create a hypnotizing melodic progression, that almost feels like a pilgrimage into the depths of the human experience.

Sleek, smooth and sultry, Family Jools know exactly what it means to be a rock band and certainly aren’t afraid to let you know. The skeletal frames of blues-rock stand tall beneath a smooth and addictive vocal that screams for an audience’s response. Premeditated and interestingly staged Rhodes piano progressions act to build suspense and tension of a truly desert rock flavour that, coupled with Jack White-like buzzed-out riffs, lead to a truly earth-shaking experience.

Just as Luvia wears her blues background proudly upon her sleeve, it would seem Family Jools are dedicated followers of the church of classic rock. Elements of The Doors creep into view through reverberant organ pieces whilst memories of The Who and Led Zeppelin can be clearly heard in the interplay of guitar and drums. The blues-drawl employed by their vocalist, George Sims, oozes the charismatic charm of Alex Turner with just the right amount of cockiness and bravado to still land as endearing rather than nauseating. All in all, I’d be hard pressed to recommend a better example of the eternal positivity of tried and tested rock and roll.

See the video for ‘California Sun’ here: