Jet | 10.21.09

live_jet_sm.gifEach member of this band is a frontman in his own right.

  

 

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Pop’s Nightclub, Sauget, Ill.

At the Jet concert I found myself lost in a sea of pre 21’ers, which surprised me because I thought they would’ve appealed more to the 30- to 40-something year range (where I fit in). I also heard a nasty rumor Pop’s announced Jet’s show to be free due to slow ticket sales the day of. It was a great turnout, but still I kept wondering why they would have to give tickets away for a stellar show like this. Jet is a band deserving of a packed house filled with paying customers. Blame it on the economy, I guess, but I am on a mission to remind readers that this is one seriously kickass band worth paying to see. (On a side note, the sound at Pop’s is more excellent than I remembered. You know you’re at a fantastic show when you can feel the bass throbbing in your teeth, stomach and feet at the same time.)

Local band Greek Fire was first to play, and I must say they lured the audience in before the lyrics to the first song began. An alternative metal band — think catchy, infectious rhythms combined with the intensity of Wolfmother and the spirituality and good looks of Creed. They even threw in one electro-rockish tune just for me, I’m convinced.

Singer Philip Sneed had powerful stage presence and worked the crowd like a seasoned pro… Then I realized he’s the former frontman for Story of the Year, which would indeed qualify him for "seasoned pro" status. At this point, I was already thinking Jet had a lot to live up to.

Now let’s talk a little about the lead guitarist. Also formerly of SOTY, Ryan Phillip’s intense, screaming sounds (and this is the best way to describe it) were worth the price of admission alone. He even doubled as drummer on one song, and the multitasker did so as brilliantly as he played guitar. Call him a musical over-achiever if you will, but he was great fun to watch and listen to.

Next up was Kill Hannah, out of Chicago, on tour promoting a new album According to lead singer Mat Devine, Kill Hannah’s played St Louis more than any other city in the world. This was probably an exaggeration, but I’m left scratching my head as to why I’ve never heard of them before.

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Their sound is very much hard rock paying homage to synth. Imagine The Killers with the darkness of She Wants Revenge or The Cure. Devine even dons war paint on his face reminiscent of Robert Smith or Adam Ant in their heyday. In fact, it took me the entire first song to figure out his gender, as the look and voice were ambiguous. Okay, the dimly lit stage didn’t help, either.  

While Devine worked the crowd, the rest of the band seemed to prefer to blend into the background for most of their set. Their best performance, however, was the last song of the night, "Lips Like Morphine." Maybe it was in effort to get the audience pumped for what we were to witness next, but the band just came alive for this one, bouncing around the stage. These talented synth-rockers gave us a great show, and I’ll probably check them out again next time they pass through the Lou.

Hailing from their homeland of Melbourne, Australia, the men of Jet looked like they stepped right out of a Gap commercial, but don’t be fooled; they will, indeed, rock your socks off. They’re stylish and trendy looking, but still obey the laws of rockstar cool. They performed just like you want a garage rock band to perform: The music was catchy, stripped down, and loud. My personal favorite, "She’s a Genius," had all heads bobbing at attention.

On tour supporting their new album, Shaka Rock, Jet has an impressive catalog of songs. Some are ballads, others are more singer-songwriter, but all are well written. They didn’t slow it down too much for our city, though; most were poppy and danceable, and they never strayed far from their garage roots. Amen for that.

Committed to classic ’60s garage rock, Jet actually brought an organist on stage with them. Not a guitar player who sits in on the keys for a few songs, but the real deal. They managed to bring back the sound of bands like The Kinks, but kept it present, so it didn’t seem too nostalgic.

The good Lord knows I cannot resist a charismatic frontman. Nic Cester screamed and wailed like he was lyrically pleading for life. He also toyed with the audience, especially on songs like "Are You Gonna Be My Girl," where it was clear he knew we could finish the lyrics. Before they started the song he pulled out a tambourine and held it in the air as if waiting for a mental light to click on. It did (albeit slowly) and the audience went nuts. They offered long, slow-building intros on their more popular songs, as if to entice us and it worked.

But to be honest, each member of this band is a frontman in his own right. On "Skin and Bones," drummer Chris Cester shares the vocals, and does an impressive job. In fact, it looks like they strategically moved the drums to stage left in effort to give every member equal spotlight. That was our gain because he had incredible presence, attacking the drums. Bass player Mark Wilson had boundless energy. As he aimlessly danced around the stage I got the feeling he enjoyed being there even more than the rest of the band.

Jet is such a small name for such a large band, large in style, presence and, most importantly, rock ‘n’ roll. Again, this was more of a mission statement than a review. My mission is to wake St. Louis out of its slumber and engage them to come out next time to see these fine Aussie boys do what they do best. | Amy Utley

Photos by Jeff Myers

Set list
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Black Hearts
Last Chance
She’s a Genius
Hey Kids
Beat on Repeat
Get What You Need
Times Like This
Skin and Bones
King’s Horses
Shine On
Are You Gonna Be My Girl
Seventeen
Cold Hard Bitch
Rip It Up

Encore
Walk
Take It or Leave It
Get Me Outta Here

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