«

»

Then Jerico + Mike Marlin @ Wolverhampton Slade Rooms, 17th May 2013

It’s a Friday blast from the past. We’re off to the smallest of the Wolves Civic venues, the Slade Rooms. Support tonight is from Mike Marlin is very possibly a rising star, tonight supporting a band who at one point shone pretty brightly, though longevity and change in music scene proved a staling point. Literally “Reprising” their star tonight it’s Mark Shaw with the boys from Then Jerico

As we arrive at the Slade Rooms there is a slight technical hitch. We’re not on the list either to shoot or review. Ooops. But the very friendly staff at the Slade Rooms do a little bit of running around and Nicki (Then Jerico’s Tour Manager) and the lovely Claire (Venue Manager on behalf of Wolves Civic tonight) duly gain us access, and for our photographer Ken, he can shoot the gig with no time limits…

First up it’s Mike Marlin. We saw him support The Stranglers a couple of years ago, and he’s since be on the road supporting Huey Morgan (one time front man of Fun Lovin’ Criminals) and now on the UK tour with Then Jerico. As a young lad was inspired by the up and coming punk and British acts. By ’82 he gave up music as a career but along with the day job, at night he continued to write. It was 2011 before he released his first album ‘Nearly Man’ followed in quick succession by ‘Man on the Ground.’ He’s a busy boy, in 2013 he has yet another album out ‘Grand Reveal.’  With full band, his songs are introspective and deep (think Leonard Cohen) but you will merrily bop along to his rolling melodies. He’s getting some good feedback from the critics – ‘Q’ and the ‘Independent on Sunday’ giving it 4 stars.  And he’s got a pretty garish shirt on – “… to embarrass his kids.” The tracks roll, bluesy, indie rock and have to say, totally enjoyable. The main word used by many critics about Marlin is ‘fascinating’ and I would agree. Take a listen and check him out on his website: www.marlinmarlin.com

And we take a quick drink before the main act of the night. Then Jerico hit the spotlight with their first album ‘First (The Sound Of Music)’ featuring hits ‘Muscle Deep’ and ‘The Motive’ (the later of which became the most played record on Radio 1 in 1987). Next up ‘Big Area’ went Platinum. By ’90 it was all change (and at the time when the music scene was into the various versions of dance, indie had gone commercial with Britpop and Grunge was just round the corner) – Shaw left to go solo. Shaw, with and without the Then Jerico tag, continued around on the music scene at one point featuring one Andy Taylor, formerly of Duran Duran, before disappearing from view. In 2012, for the guys, it was time to reform – and now the original lineup of Shaw, Jasper Stainthorpe (Bass), Scott Taylor (Guitar), Rob Downes (Guitar) and Steve Wren (Drums) are back together.  This is part of a 13-date UK tour to promote ‘Reprise’ greatest and best-known hits and some ‘mysterious mixes’.

So here they come – to a cheer from the audience and accompanied by the theme from ‘Stingray’. The tiny Slade Rooms aren’t sold out – I’m guessing there are around 150 people here. That doesn’t stop Shaw – he ‘whoops’ as he appears on stage, and gives it his all as we start of with ‘Helpless.’ Next up ‘You Ought To Know’ – to all intense and purposes they deserve better than this half filled tiny room. He’s chatty and engaging – the band are clearly enjoying themselves as we get an acknowledgement to local band Slade as then give us a rendition of ‘Cum on Feel the Noize.’

Hit ‘Prairie Rose’ is rocky live than on vinyl – gets the crowd chanting back – and like several tracks tonight – these are extended remixes that roll on and on. ‘Hitcher’, the dark song with the lyrics I can somehow bizarrely quote: “Hitcher, hitcher, hitch one ride, Took your life with a six inch knife, He put the secret into your brain, Moments later you died in pain…”. The crowd duly sings along too. Shaw is hugely energetic – prancing and posing and striding around the tiny stage like it was three times the size – introducing the band members between songs. The crowd recognises the intro – it’ll be mega hit ‘The Motive’ followed by another hit, ‘Sugar Box.’

The bass starts up and takes us into the darker side of Then Jerico – ‘Underground’; Shaw is in the pit as he screens “Fire” at the crowd. Shaw has a photo taken by an audience member on their mobile “How much? Pictures are extra…” he cheekily responds. A thanks to everyone (in the world) involved in putting the tour together and we get him singing alone to the intro to ‘Big Area’ before that band give us the full track in it’s pop glory.

“Good night – God bless you.…” and we have a five minute break before the encore. Shaw and guitarist sidekick give us an acoustic ‘Darkest Hour’ still a beautifully haunting track – and live, Shaw’s vocals are strong and emotionally powerful. The clear standout moment of the night. A bit of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s ‘The Message’ before last track of the night ‘Reeling’ which rolls on and on – or reels on and on as the case may be. Shaw is clearly pretty stoked by the end of the night after the 1 hour 45 minute set – the guys have clearly enjoyed themselves.

I wasn’t too sure what to expect from Then Jerico – and I found that I enjoyed tonight’s entertainment. Then Jerico shone very brightly albeit briefly in their hey-day – but they still remain a tight outfit, are having a blast playing and Shaw has a huge amount of energy – giving his all, in performance and emotionally. Then Jerico are on a par with other nostalgia bands that are out, and probably give far better live set than many. So if you fancy an intimate night of 80‘s nostalgia for around for 20 nicker – then pop out for a night with and reprise a time with Then Jerico. You could do far worse.

********************************************

Setlist:

1. Helpless

2. You Ought to Know.

3. Let Her Fall

4. Fault

5. Blessed Days…

6. Prairie Rose

7. Hitcher

8. What Does It Take

9. The Motive…

10. Play Dead

11. Sugarbox

12. Underground

13. Big Area

Encore:

14. Darkest Hour

15. Broken hearted

16. Reeling

********************************************

Review for Gig Junkies. Pictures by Ken Harrison