Jade Jackson, The Slaughtered Lamb, London, 13th November 2017

The music room of The Slaughtered Lamb is a cosy basement of this spacious Clerkenwell hip-boozer, with a stage squeezed into a corner. It’s surprisingly full of instruments, but this is explained by the support – Ferris & Sylvester – who between them need three or four guitars, a violin electric bass – Issy Ferris’ “new toy” which she jokingly describes as making her feel more of a rock-chick – and a kick-drum as well as the usual range of pedals. All this allows for a range of slightly folky, slightly rock, songs often featuring some nice slide guitar from Archie Sylvester, and all with the girly-sweet lead vocals of Ferris. Opening their short set with their best known song – Save Yourself – in which Izzy Ferris begs to be abandoned, but only to save her from ever being the one to inflict such pain. It’s a great song, and is followed up with several new songs from the duo’s upcoming Made in Streatham EP including the sassy and slightly funky Better in Yellow, which questions a friends sudden changes in behaviour “I think you look better in yellow / girl for the future black don’t suit ya / and I hope it’s not too do with your fellow”.

There are two tricks with support acts – either someone dreadful who will inevitably make the main band look better or someone good but different enough from the headliner that both can be enjoyed without the main band being undermined. Ferris & Sylvester nicely fit the second option.

Jade Jackson opened her first UK appearance with the dramatic guitar strum that signals the start of Aden – which is both her album opener and her calling card “I grew up my father’s daughter / he said don’t take no shit from no-one / you’ll never see me cry / ’til now I’ve had no reason why”. With her stripped down band – drums, bass and superb lead guitar by Andrew Rebel – Jade Jackson is a more convincing “rock chick” than Izzy Ferris, not that she lacks a sense of humour about it all. Her steel drenched in cheap whisky vocal easily carries the balance of outward toughness with a heart that’s being torn from her chest on Aden, but Bridges demonstrates that she’s not all rock strut. It’s a pleading ballad for luck to change, full of fragility in the face of the world’s hard-knocks “I’m tired of living this way / Weary from hurt / Weakened from hate”.

Whilst the set naturally concentrated on the recently released debut album Gilded, there were a couple of new songs. Now or Never is a muscular rocker born from the frustration of finding out that the album release date had been delayed, it bops and pops with Jake Vukovich’s bass and the drumming of Tyler Miller. Long Way Home furthers Jade Jackson’s take it or leave it persona – sometimes she says thanks for the drinks and goes home alone, sometimes she takes the long way. Her choice – and you’d better believe it.

No Guarantees is a country round the edges ballad which offers up a bleak assessment of romantic promises “it’s not hard to be unfaithful / all the things a heart is capable of / it’s not hard being unstable / ‘cos there’s no guarantees in love”. It’s a song that coaxes the sweetest vocal from Jackson, but she lets rip again on the youth out of control Troubled End, which see’s Jade Jackson strutting around a stage which, when it gets too constraining, she quits to prowl the front of stage area. Having arrived with a belter of a song Jade Jackson and band left with another such song – Good Time Gone – which lets the band demonstrate their chops to some effect. And then, to underline the title they made their thank you’s and headed off stage and no amount of appreciation could drag them back for an encore – they literally were a good time gone. This may have been Jade Jackson’s first UK appearance, but it’s a safe bet that the next London gig will, deservedly, be at a more sizeable venue.

Set List

Aiden
Back When
Finish Line
Better Off
Bridges
Now or Never
No Guarantees
Troubled End
Motorcycle
Tonight
Long Way Home
Gilded
Good Time Gone

Author: Jonathan Aird

Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan’s music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That’s not much to ask, is it?

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