Sydney band THE JEZABELS are back in the UK to tour their new album The Brink. Headlining one of Manchester’s coolest venues, Gorilla, they’re excited tonight to play the new tracks to their fans.
With a loyal fanbase and often hailed as one of the best bands to emerge from Australia, they’ve suffered a bit of a beating in the mainstream UK press for no good reason as far as we can see, but recording in London has given them an extra foothold in the industry this time round and they’re grinning with anticipation as they soak up tonight’s industrial-chic venue in preparation for the show.
It’s always a great pleasure to catch up with singer Hayley Mary, guitarist Sam Lockwood, keyboardist Heather Shannon, and drummer Nik Kaloper. Arguably one of the best live bands on the circuit, their reputation for being one of the friendliest bands is also safely solid.
Their audience tonight is across the board in gender, age and background which is a good sign. To the massive stage backdrop displaying the band name, dressed snappily in her black leather jacket and carefully tailored hairstyle, Hayley Mary arrives on stage to supportive yelps and they’re straight into the album title track. Sam is the amazing human dynamo, while Heather is serenely focused and Nik casts his spell over the drums. Transitioning into Prisoner hit Endless Summer, the crowds are waving their arms in the air, pogoing and clapping. The vocals are crystal clear, full of power and passion – Hayley is born for the stage and possesses one of the most distinctive set of pipes out there. We’re reminded in an instant what makes this award-winning band so special. “I love you!” shout several people in the crowd – and they do. Looking slightly overwhelmed by the adoration, the singer smiles back shyly and we travel on.
The catchy new Look of Love is followed by the beautiful Long Highway which sees Sam move to the front of stage to display his killer guitar riffs. It’s an epic song, with rolling crescendos and makes good use of Hayley’s vast vocal range. Time to Dance is another catchy number, epitomising the new album sound, a kind of poppier more upbeat version of their debut – it’s a layered album that grows on you with each listen – and performed live, this particular song is transcendent. Beat to Beat is another pop marvel and gets the crowds dancing.
Jezabels’ ‘classic’ Hurt Me is greeted with a massive audience reaction, hands in the air and singing along galore. A brilliant power track with an incredible high note, it marks out this band as one who can write unique hooks while injecting depth – and that is certainly not a skill possessed by many working bands. The spine-chilling drum roll introducing the track serves as further evidence of Nik Kaloper’s precision and intensity – he’s a delight to watch. Hayley slaps the palms of fans’ hands in the front row who are buzzing from all the excitement. The stunning Little Piece follows – another demonstration of Nik’s crazy-complex drumstrokes and Hayley’s dulcet tones.
After a tiny comedy moment where No Country suffers a slight instrumental hitch, the fans applaud the band’s perseverance. “It’s good, coz you know it’s live!” apologises Hayley. Honestly, they’re so nice, you just want to throw plushies onto the stage to spur them on. Power ballad The End closes the set, followed by a swift encore. The Jezabels just wouldn’t be the same without their hit Easy To Love, and we’re properly satisfied now.
After the UK, they’re off to Europe to smash some more venues. We’re going to miss them!