Goodness only knows what residents near the Sebright Arms thought as The Jim Jones Revue opened their set on Wednesday night.
The five retro rockers are based locally, and as they tore into the opening numbers in this pub’s small basement, it was apparent their reputation as one of the loudest bands around is well-deserved. There was certainly no danger of any conversations spoiling the music.
It’s not that The Jim Jones Revue are all about volume. But as the sheer force of the soundwaves hits you, it’s hard to take notice of much else, except perhaps pausing to wonder whether your eardrums will survive.
In many ways, they’re a band that could have stepped straight out of the 1950s. Black jeans, leather jackets and slicked back hair provide visual clues, while just a few bars of the full-blooded, piano-driven rock instantly evoke an era gone by.
It’s louder than it ever was back then, of course. And there’s a dirtier, more ragged edge, supplied by the gravelly voice of frontman Jim Jones and the relentless, brawny guitars.
But many of the songs follow a similar pattern. They open explosively, canter to an abrupt pause after a minute or two, then resume at full throttle to a visceral conclusion. It would feel repetitive if it wasn’t for the complex melodies provided by keyboardist Henri Herbert. Sweat pours off him as his fingers fly across the keyboard, crafting a tapestry of notes that provide welcome variety and depth.
The gig comes to a thunderous end after two encores. With guitars held aloft and the small crowd bathed in sweat, it’s hard to not be impressed by the raw intensity of the evening. The Jim Jones Revue might take their inspiration from the past, but on stage they certainly live in the moment.
The Jim Jones Revue’s residency at the Sebright Arms, 31-35 Coate Street E2, runs until 11 May.