The Jackets live

Photo by Helen Howard

The Fiddler’s Elbow, London
November 30

“I only know how to play this kind of music, because I love it”. So says Chris Rosales, drummer of Switzerland’s The Jackets, a man who cut his teeth, musically speaking, in the semi-mythical days of LA’s garage scene which centred on the Cavern Club. And it shows.

The Jackets, returning to Camden after an abortive attempt a year ago, play a triumphant set of their gothic twist on the 60s garage template. It draws a sizeable crowd (despite several other events taking place that night, including The Kumari playing an all-too rare gig), many of whom, one gathers from overheard snatches of conversation, have been avidly awaiting the band since that ill-fated moment last year. They are not disappointed. Coming across like an artier version of The Cynics, singer/guitarist Jack Torera’s background as performance artist and actress injects a stark aesthetic reminiscent of the weirder moments of German expressionism and surrealism/Dadaism. It makes for a very captivating stageshow, propelled forward by Chris’ drumming and bassist Samuel Schmidinger. Allied to the minimalist garage riffs fired off by Torera, which are of almost Sandoz-like purity, with no extra fat.

All too soon the set is over, but not before two encores, and the Weirdsville DJ takes over. As ‘Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White’ by The Standells comes over the speakers (it transpires tonight that Dick Dodd, their sometime singing drummer, has died), I for one can’t help but walk out into the cold winter night with a smile, and a definite hope to see them hosting more bands like The Jackets. Although in all honesty The Jackets proved tonight they really are one of a kind.

Cad Wessely

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