2022 Gig Reports

Jesus Jones at 229, Friday, 2nd of September 2022

An uplifting and energetic show from Jesus Jones.

September 2022 is not a month I think back on fondly. Having already spent most of the year wrapped up in worries about my parents’ declining state of health and wellbeing, this is the month where things started to go critical. So when I think of this Jesus Jones gig, it’s hard to think of anything other than the turmoil that was about to unfold in my life.

And even though the shit had not quite yet hit the fan, I was already not in the greatest of moods as I ventured to central London this early autumn evening. I was less than two months into a new job, the one that I’d celebrated being offered by catching COVID in the spring, and the stresses of this combined with escalating family troubles had driven me to a minor meltdown earlier in this day.

But as soon as I found myself inside the 229, everything seemed okay again. This was my second time seeing Jesus Jones, a band I’d loved in the early 90s but had criminally largely ignored in the ensuing decades. Since their monumental 100 Club gig the previous November, however, they had rightfully reclaimed their place as one of my all-time favourite bands.

It was my first time at the 229, and I was impressed by the space, which seemed apt to provide an intimate gig while leaving room to breathe. I arrived as Utah Saints were playing their DJ set, with a sizable crowd already gathered and bopping to their tunes. I found myself bopping to “Something Good” et al from the vantage point of the bar queue, as for some reason it took over half and hour just to get a glass of wine. Frustrating as this was, it actually worked in my favour, as by the time I got my drink the DJ set was over and the crowd had dispersed, which meant I could walk right up to near the front, about three or four rows back.

And then there were less than 15 minutes to wait until he lights went down and Jesus Jones were there, blasting into “Zeroes and Ones” just like at the 100 Club, and blasting the remaining gremlins of the day from my mind. Just as at that previous gig, the band were on top form, rattling through classics with energy and vigour. The setlist was much the same as before, with the highlights for me being the menacing “Song 13”, the darkly thrilling “Idiot Stare”, and “The Devil You Know” sounding stark and profound. One improved aspect for me, though, was seeing the band on what you might call a proper stage, rather than the knee high platform that the 100 Club offers. Exhilarating as it may be to see your idols at such close proximity, the larger stage here allowed the band room to properly rock out.

It was an easy-going crowd ready to dance and sing and basically just have an excellent Friday night out in London. Despite being near the front, I experienced none of the crush or body-slamming that had dampened my spirits slightly at the 100 club gig. This meant I was able to enjoy my favourite Jesus Jones song “International Bright Young Thing” in its entirety, unlike last time when some dude decided to slam himself in front of me just as the song began. As this song was moved earlier in the set from its closing spot last time, the gig was now aptly finished by a riotous “Info Freako”.

Looking back on this gig from over eight months later, it’s hard to separate it from the even more difficult phase of life that I was on the cusp of. Both my parents had taken a massive downturn in health throughout the year, with my father having a spell in hospital leading to a care home admission in the summer. And the day after this gig, I would get a call saying that my mum was now declining further, and within a few days she would be rushed to hospital herself. The next few months were filled with worry and indecision, knowing at any moment I could receive a call from Canada with dreadful news.

Still, I’m glad that I had this fantastic gig from Jesus Jones to take me away from it all for a while before a truly difficult phase of life began, and I can’t wait for my next chance to see the band in hopefully happier times.

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