The Live Rooms, Chester
Saturday 11th July 2015
Firstly can I say one word describes Jah Wobble at Chester The Live Rooms “phenomenal”.
I’ve seen Jah Wobble many times live in the last 20 years even with the mighty Keith Levene but this tops the lot.
The actual venue is perfect and well established on the live circuit for so many decent touring outfits.
Jah as always is surrounded by gifted musicians and together this 5 piece are truly awe inspiring – the music – jazz, dub, funk and post Punk is delivered in good spirits with pure energy. There is use of backing tapes throughout but this adds to the backdrop with Michael Caine supplying the intro to “Get Carter”, Sinead O’connor supplying the vocal intro to “Visions of You” and Jah Wobble himself supplying the pre recorded vocals to “Poptones” whilst he sits on a chair playing the bass.
Jah Wobble on this live appearance is happy to play his career spanning highs to the crowd taking us to the 1990s with “Visions of you” and “Becoming more like God” the fantastic high of the 1980s “How Much are they” with a light hearted dig at his guitarist making him jealous telling him that he had worked with the members of Can for that particular song, before turning to the audience to tell us tongue in cheek that he had worked with so many famous people who would always be there for him Can, Brian Eno funnily enough John Lydon didn’t get a mention.
The theme music to The Sweeney gets a reggae tinged airing as Jah brings 1970s London to present day Chester, it seems to invoke images of the youth that was John Wardle one of the infamous four Johns before three of them went on to change music forever.
“Public Image” the song which began Jah’s musical journey is played with an Eastern tinged promise with Jah singing, taking it away from the original but keeping the PIL ethos to the core – this is the original member who continues to push musical boundaries and as such he proudly sings “it’s my entrance my own creation my grand finale my goodbye”. “Poptones” keeps to the original format and is a reminder of what a seminal album Metal Box is.
But it is the grand finale of the show which to me represents Jah Wobble at his best rather than leave the stage and ask for an ego massaging recall to the stage for an encore he stays put and asks the audience to imagine a hugh dry ice covered stage in a hugh venue and we have just recalled him for that encore. Jah then delivers PIL first issue album closer “Fodderstompf” as a song and as a show finisher it is truly amazing – 15 minutes worth of a truly ground breaking PIL bassline with the man himself asking for an audience sing along “we only wanted to be loved, we only wanted to be loved, we only wanted to be loved” that he didn’t really get that is a reflection on us the audience not him. I’ve seen PIL many times and various former members of PIL but never heard this song live, this would make a great addition to any future PIL concert.
Jah Wobble and his band live in Chester Live Rooms “WE ONLY WANTED TO BE LOVED” and they were!