JPNSGRLS and Fizzy Blood – Brudenell Games Room, Leeds (21st Nov 2016)

It’s a sad fact that bands with the skills and personality to be huge are confined to playing 200 capacity venues half full. It is a testament to the professionalism and commitment of these acts that they are still happy to put on a superb show for the gathered few. So it was with JPNSGRLS and their support Fizzy Blood when they played Brudenell Games Room on a cold wet November evening. Coming to the end of a three week run together, this band of brothers were as happy to watch the others’ set as play their own and JPNSGRLS could be seen dancing and, as Charlie put it, ‘fangirling’ at the front whilst Fizzy Blood did their thing. And what a thing it was. Fizzy Blood are from the school of thought which says if you’re going to do something, do it big and enjoy it too. If House Stark had a house band they would sound like this, part Queens of The Stone Age, part Black Sabbath, they are timeless and tireless in their dedication to Rock. Their live presence is something to behold, 3 guitars and a bass work together with style and swagger aplenty.

Occasionally the lead singer became still, impervious to the tornados surrounding him and that only helped to heighten the overall effect of this noisy storm. The whole band were great to watch but a special mention must be made for the gurning flame haired bassist, he looked like the bastard offspring of Angus Young and Beaker from the Muppets and pulled the most amazing facial expressions ever seen outside of comic books.

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As JPNSGRLS (pronounced Japanese Girls) took to the stage the fact that Fizzy Blood were enjoying a Leeds homecoming impacted on the crowd, many of whom it seemed had come to see their friend, son or partner in the Leeds’ outfit and the room seemed far too empty. Undeterred by this JPNSGRLS kicked it off with a simply stunning version of their song ‘Oh My God’ from their new album ‘Divorce’. Soon with the return of the support act to the room it started to fill up but for once the atmosphere in the room was secondary to what was happening on stage which was a masterclass on how to play a rock and roll show. In Charlie Kerr they have a frontman worth watching, listening to and, if you’re so inclined (my plus one was!), drooling over; a veritable feast for the senses he moved, sang and looked superb. He is not just a singer, he performs, he dances, he communicates, he wiggles and jiggles like Mick Jagger did before time and the ravages of a rock and roll lifestyle turned his face into a leather handbag. As the primary song writer in the band he knows what the songs mean and projects the true meaning throughout, speaking with his actions as much as the words.

But JPNSGRLS are not just the front man as any singer needs a foundation for the mania and energy and the band were note perfect, solid and full of life themselves. Chris McClelland, a man so big the room only just held him, is a giant bass playing lumberjack behemoth who never stops smiling. Graham Serl drives the band onwards with demonic drums and a mischievous look in his eye, he is that guy who lives next door who you think works at Walmart but instead he owns Footasylum, or owns a dungeon. Then there is Colton Lauro who throws catchy guitar melodies at us from all over the place pushing and pulling our eardrums to gloriously melodic places we didn’t always expect to go. Musically they are in the vein of The Strokes, Biffy Clyro, Foals and Black Keys and live they were extraordinary, one of the best live performance of this year. Long before Fizzy Blood’s ceramic alien Lemarr was accidentally sacrificed on the altar of rock music and the ceiling punctured by the microphone stand I was converted. Great show, can’t wait for the next one.

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