somebody got murdered: Janice Graham band on the cusp of greatness
somebody got murdered: Janice Graham band on the cusp of greatness

Janice Graham Band
Manchester Ritz
Feb 3rd 2012

somebody got murdered: Janice Graham band on the cusp of greatness
somebody got murdered: Janice Graham band on the cusp of greatness

I’ve seen a lot of stuff in my time and when i see a band on the cusp of greatness I get that feeling.

I was there when the Roses and the Mondays were tipping over from being best kept secrets to mass appeal bands. Tonight Janice Graham Band are in that place. They are playing the 1200 capacity Ritz in Manchester and there must be a 1000 in here which is pretty impressive for a band who have done it outside the hipster media banging on about them (yet).

This is a real phenomonon, there is no hype. This is four lads from Wythenshawe- Europe’s biggest council estate- who mash up their great record collections into pure 21st century street pop.

I can hear all sorts inhere, there is an undertow of reggae, a rush of the best of indie, street smart lyrics, a ska dance party, a bit of rock n roll and a series of songs that all sound like hit singles. The band look ridiculously young, unravaged by rock n roll they surf on the pure joy of their music that bounces along with infectious rhythms and caustic lyrics sung by frontman Joe who somehow also manages to play the complex bass lines at the same time.

This is the Specials with a northern accent, a youth club full of great musical ideas, songs crammed with clever twists and turns, songs that have their own unique atmospheres and yet you can dance to. They are young and urgent and in a hurry, the music is black and white, indie and reggae, ska and punky, a punky reggae party 21st century style.

The band have the room jumping because they understand rhythm, the songs are built on constantly twitching and shuffling rhythms that meld black musics like reggae, dub, soul and funk with an indie andrenalin. The guitar is choppy and adds to the band’s brilliant musicianship but everyone serves the song and these are anthems to the scruffy kids who no one ever ever takes any notice of in the UK, the kids who don’t riot and are not celebrities, the kids that don’t get to go on University Challenge but are just as smart. Janice Graham band is not a femme fatale and her cronies on stahe it’s these kids, the normal kids of Britain who have ipods crammed full of music and bands like Janice Graham to play it.

The band have just produced an album of raw yet complex songs that as the end result of years of mixing and matching all different strands of pop culture.

As the crowd leaves everyone is smiling, everyone knows that something clearly pretty special is happening here.

This is a special band. Let’s stop all this moaning about the end of music bands like Janice Graham are twitching, living proof that UK music is in very, very good health.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. […] the spearhead of a renaissance of great music from the city, along with fellow Mancunian hopefuls The Janice Graham Band and Dirty […]

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