Live Review: Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind in London

The singer unveils his new band and scores a major victory.

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Jim Jones is an artist who clearly relishes causing consternation among his followers. Having disbanded the mighty Jim Jones Revue at the end of 2014, his return with new band, The Righteous Mind, via the video release of 1000 Miles From The Sure – a kaleidoscopic reading of country music – wrong-footed a number of people convinced that Jones had given up the ramalama for good.

Yet, as evidenced by tonight’s performance at the climax of the band’s debut UK tour, you second-guess Jones at your peril. While the sheer, visceral onslaught of his previous band has been dialed back a shade, Jim Jones And The Righteous Mind paint from a wider palette as they gloriously draw from a deep well of roots influences that include blues, gospel, a cappella chain gang chants and psychedelia. Garnished with a sense of voodoo menace, the ingredients all make for a heady and intoxicating stew.

Explosive opener Aldecide and current single Boil Yer Blood find Jones in familiar territory as the band unleash their sonic force, but it’s with Til It’s All Gone and the percussion-heavy grooves of No Fool that the new vision comes sharply into focus. Augmented by Bad Seeds’ drummer Jim Sclavunos – sitting in for an indisposed Phil Martini – the rhythms become increasingly hypnotic as they methodically draw the audience in. The triptych of Shallow Grave, Save My Life and 1000 Miles From The Sure bring the pace down yet increase the tension as Jones croons with both menace and authority, while Gavin Jay moves from electric to stand-up bass.

By the time they reach the electrifying finale of Walk It Out, Jim Jones And The Righteous Mind have whipped up an eager crowd dancing to music they’ve never heard before. At this rate, it’ll soon be as loved as it’s known.

Julian Marszalek

Julian Marszalek is the former Reviews Editor of The Blues Magazine. He has written about music for Music365, Yahoo! Music, The Quietus, The Guardian, NME and Shindig! among many others. As the Deputy Online News Editor at Xfm he revealed exclusively that Nick Cave’s second novel was on the way. During his two-decade career, he’s interviewed the likes of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Ozzy Osbourne, and has been ranted at by John Lydon. He’s also in the select group of music journalists to have actually got on with Lou Reed. Marszalek taught music journalism at Middlesex University and co-ran the genre-fluid Stow Festival in Walthamstow for six years.