The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
LIVE JON STEVENS THE CHARLES HOTEL 18.10.2013

JON STEVENS LIVE AT THE CHARLES HOTEL 2013 REVIEW

 

JON STEVENS LIVE AT THE CHARLES HOTEL, PERTH

AUSTRALIAN TOUR - OCTOBER 18 2013

JON STEVENS IS MAKING THE BEST MUSIC OF HIS LIFE IN 2013 AND VOCALLY HE'S NEVER SOUNDED BETTER - WE CHECKED OUT THE SHOW AT PERTH'S CHARLES HOTEL AND CAME AWAY SUITABLY IMPRESSED...

 

Opening act Jason Ayers warmed up The Charles Hotel crowd with some ‘laid back tunes’ played simply on an acoustic guitar that at times were almost drowned out by the excited chat in the crowd as the room filled for Jon Stevens. By the second song ‘Troubles of my own’ though he’d largely won over the room receiving appreciative applause that outweighed the cries for Jon between songs.

 

 

The main act Jon Stevens wears the years well and for a rock show the 80% female crowd made the stage rather intimidating for the males that ventured forward at times when the Noiseworks standards rang out. Casually strolling on stage with a bottle of water and a guitar Stevens had the room hanging on every word and every smile.

 

 

After opening with a new song we were quickly in familiar territory with a rousing rendition of ‘Touch’ and a few of the males in the audience even managed to make it to the outskirts of the packed crowd. There may have been less in attendance at the show in Fremantle the night before than anticipated but tonight the Charles Hotel was packed with a largely 40-50 year old crowd that god more than their money’s worth.

 


 

 

To be honest, having only seen Stevens once before – earlier this year with Noiseworks at the Stone Music Festival in Sydney; and more of a fan of his solo output and new band the Dead Daisies than his earlier material it was fair to say that I was in the minority. Though by the end of the night it was pretty clear that almost everyone here would be looking up that new material which stood up remarkably well against the tried and tested Aussie Rock standards of his most famous band.

 

 

The secret to Stevens appeal is plain to hear – his voice is great, possibly better than it has ever been and when he opens up towards the end of ‘Touch’ you’d have to say it’s remarkable. He nails every note this evening and even invents some new ones.

 

 

With a shout of “it’s good to be back” ‘Freedom’s’ funky swamp groove lays the ground for the haunting powerful cry of that single word chorus. If you haven’t heard Stevens before I suggest you check out his catalogue, but in truth he’s one of those artists that is so much better live.

 

 

 

 

 

Taking off the guitar for ‘Miles and miles’ (from acoustic album The Works) he  tells the crowd how pleased he is to be here for “a nice little acoustic show” and after a restrained opening the song breaks open with trademark power offset by the sweetness in his vocal. This is powerful rock and roll and with arms raised in the air and crowd is fully on board for the ride. “Life is too damn short” he tells us before breaking into a song from ‘Changing times’. “Who likes the blues” he asks as ‘Living the life’s’ heavy groove swamps the room. It’s a song with touches of Bad Company in the softer moments, and sweet southern harmony backing vocals.

 

 

You can tell Stevens is an artist who likes to feel what he plays, loves the live arena and for him it has to be ‘real’ as the groove gets frenetic he welcomes the band and checks on the crowd. And as we get low down and soulful the band breaks into ‘Washington’ by The Dead Daisies.

 

 

The fact that this man is making music as powerful as this in 2013 is simply amazing when so many of his contemporaries are sitting back watching the world go by. The crowd reacts well to ‘Washington’ a song we talked about when I interviewed Jon back in September on his US tour with The Daisies. At the time he thought that there was no real appetite for such a band in Australia but judging by the reaction tonight he may just reconsider.

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking for a cup of tea, he talks about his 20111 album ‘Testify’ before the band breaks into the title track and he loses his waistcoat. It’s a funky number with a massive rising chorus, like a full-on James brown on fire, and everyone laps it up. It’s clear that anyone who just saw Jon as the voice of Noiseworks is hastily reconsidering as he marches into another new song – this time ‘Fly’ from the soundtrack of the movie Planes. He had a birthday last week he tells us before launching into the aggressive blues funk chorus.

 

 

“From a brand new song to a fucking old one I wrote in 1985” is the cue for some of the braver males in attendance to brave the stage as Noiseworks’ ‘Take me back’ causes a crowd surge with everyone singing, arms raised to the skies. For a casual observer it’s impossible not to feel the love in the room. ‘Take Me Back’ is swiftly followed by ‘No Lies’ a song he tells us he wrote in the same week. ‘Hot chilli woman’ keeps the crowd on the boil and dancing.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a great night at the Charles as the songs keep coming and for anyone that thinks Stevens is a name from the eighties they couldn’t be more wrong. The world needs more people like Jon Stevens and tonight he proved that the music he is making now is at least in this reviewers eyes even better than that most remember him for. This is what live music is all about.

 

 

 

review and images by Mark Diggins October 2013

 

 

THE ROCKPIT.NET SUPPORTING LOCAL LIVE MUSIC

waNt more? VIEW OUR 2012 INTERVIEWS | VIEW OUR 2011 INTERVIEWS

Want to see a band you love interviewed? Looking to promote a tour of Australia? Contact mark@therockpit.net