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Bare John Live @ O2 Academy 2 – 6th September 2014

Before I get into the review proper I feel that there is something that I need to address. There has been a lot of talk recently (Some of it justified) that the live music scene is dying. Well on last night’s evidence the demise of live music has been greatly exaggerated. There was a proper crowd at the O2 last night, the place was buzzing and the atmosphere for all of the bands who performed was fantastic. So a massive shout must go out to Jar Music for putting together that show, it really was brilliant. The local live scene may not be what it was back in the day but I can promise you that it is far from dead.

Sorry, bear with me as I climb down off my high horse…. Right, back to the matter in hand. Last night I was given the opportunity to go out and review Bare John live and you know what? They are a damn good little band.

Bare John are Sophie Bret (Vocals) Jack (Guitar) Nick (Bass) and Rob. (Drums) I must confess that the band hadn’t really been on my radar until around a week ago although a couple of band members have featured on these pages in the past. I have had the pleasure of reviewing Sophie Bret and Jack before in their other guise as The Taskers, an unorthodox and very impressive rock band who know how to put on a show, so I arrived in Birmingham last night expecting to see a high quality set; and I’m pleased to say that I wasn’t disappointed.

Things got underway with the raw, hard hitting energy and power that is ‘Going Down (On Love)’ In fact the track was so energetic and so hard hitting that guitarist Jack was actually knocked over by it. Or, he just tripped and fell over, but that isn’t quite as rock and roll is it? The track has a real 70’s rock feel to it and served as a really strong start.

The following tune ‘Birds Teeth’ is all about stripped back (Ish) verses and a mega chorus. The band was clearly on top form with the really tight rhythm section powering the whole thing forwards. Strange title apart this is pretty much a ‘straight’ rock track, that is until the grunge style ending with its dirty guitar riff an absolutely monster vocal. It was strange seeing SB taking centre stage after only previously seeing her behind a drum kit but she has great stage presence and really took the performance by the scruff of the neck.

‘Slight Rebellion’ is the bands new single and you can really see why. A catchy chorus and tremendously catchy riffs are the order of the day as another track flies by. It’s not as heavy as the previous two tracks but the quality is most certainly as high. And it wasn’t just me, a quick scan of the crowd showed that they were well into the performance and the cheers of appreciation as the track wound to a close just provided further evidence that this had been a really good set.

The tempo then slowed as the dulcet tones of ‘Mathew’ filtered through the frankly blinding stage lighting. The track is characterised by a really strong melody along with an equally strong vocal. Again heads nodded along in the audience with the booming drum beat, Bare John had got those watching in the palm of their hands. ‘These Bones’ followed a similar theme, not as full on as the opening tracks but equally as impressive. The whole set flowed really well with the standout moment here being some very impressive guitar work.

The set was then brought to a pretty abrupt end as those in charge declared that the band had run out of time. The band looked as miffed as the rest of us as what had been a pretty polished and professional performance was brought to a slightly bizarre end.

Unexpected ending aside this was a very accomplished performance. The vocals were completely on point and the musicianship was fantastic, you could tell that the band work at their craft. They also weren’t afraid to let the bass come to the forefront of some tracks which is a massive plus in my book. We want to hear the bass!!! The transitions between songs were all pretty smooth as were the interactions with the crowd. Even when Jack hit the deck in the opener he carried on playing you can’t get much more professional than that.

Overall a really enjoyable set, a band definitely worth seeing live if you ever get the chance.

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