That's Entertainment For Jam Fans At Somerset House

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 31 months ago
That's Entertainment For Jam Fans At Somerset House ★★★☆☆ 3
A photo of the band from their heyday. © Martyn Goddard, Modern World photo shoot 1977
A photo of the band from their heyday. © Martyn Goddard, Modern World photo shoot 1977
The show comes with a stage and a video playing some of their hits. Photo Mary Turner (Getty images for Somerset House)
The show comes with a stage and a video playing some of their hits. Photo Mary Turner (Getty images for Somerset House)
A selection of badges and pins associated with the band. Photo Mary Turner (Getty images for Somerset House)
A selection of badges and pins associated with the band. Photo Mary Turner (Getty images for Somerset House)
The show opens with a selection of posters advertising their gigs. Photo Mary Turner (Getty images for Somerset House)
The show opens with a selection of posters advertising their gigs. Photo Mary Turner (Getty images for Somerset House)
The exhibition wouldn't be complete without some of their records. Photo Mary Turner (Getty images for Somerset House)
The exhibition wouldn't be complete without some of their records. Photo Mary Turner (Getty images for Somerset House)
The Jam were also style icons so clothes feature prominently in this exhibition. Photo Mary Turner (Getty images for Somerset House)
The Jam were also style icons so clothes feature prominently in this exhibition. Photo Mary Turner (Getty images for Somerset House)

Londonist Rating: ★★★☆☆

Although they were only together for five years, The Jam are one of the most influential punk rock bands in British music history. This exhibition looks back at their legacy but is it for die-hard fans only or does it also succeed in winning over those less familiar with their music?

The exhibition space isn't very large, but it's packed full of memorabilia — even a school swimming certificate — as it charts the band's journey from Sheerwater Secondary Modern in Woking to being the voice of disaffected suburban youth. The band has opened up their own collections, and there are also items garnered by fans, to create a mass of records, album covers, posters, a video documentary and lots of the band's influential clothing — as style icons of their day, clothing takes up almost as much space in this show as their musical instruments.

There is a stage set up within the gallery with videos of songs being played behind it, this is a nice touch and pumping music through the exhibition definitely makes the show feel more immersive — we saw quite a few fellow visitors nodding their heads or tapping their feet to the rhythm. We also noted those attending weren't just those who were around when The Jam were popular, but also a younger demographic who may not have been born when the band broke up in 1982.

Jam fans will find a lot to love in this exhibition, although it's probably less entertaining for those with only a passing interest.

The Jam: About the young idea is on at Somerset House until 31 August. Tickets are £9.50 full price, £7 concessions.

Nearby is the insightful Unfinished at The Courtauld Gallery, 100 years of Ben Uri gallery in the Inigo Rooms, a London focussed prize for illustration at London Transport Museum and the BP portrait award at National Portrait Gallery.

Last Updated 07 July 2015