The Jayhawks

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The Jayhawks

The Jayhawks

Posted: 25 Jul 2014

Sage Gateshead
19 July 2014

Having reconvened to promote a trio of album reissues, alt-country rockers The Jayhawks visited Tyneside as part of the annual Summertyne Americana weekend – when a large influx of musicians temporarily turn this part of Gateshead into the 51st State of the USA.

With backing from his 1997 touring band, Jayhawks main man Gary Louris concentrated on songs from that year’s release “The Sound of Lies”, 2000’s follow-up “Smile” and “Rainy Day Music”from 2003 – with occasional deviations into other corners of his back catalogue.

The presence of a standing “pit” for this gig helped bridge the gap between the band and the seated audience, but things only really moved up into top gear after when the on-stage five piece line-up were augmented by guitarist Marc Ford after eight solid but workmanlike songs.  

Formerly part of the Black Crowes, Ford had earlier opened proceedings as part of an acoustic duo whose set was somewhat undermined by his between-song rambling.  Plugged in and guesting with old acquaintance Louris though, his presence beefed up and enhanced “Waiting for the Sun.”

That was one of two tracks dusted off from the band’s 1992 breakthrough record, “Hollywood Town Hall” and by the time keynote song “Blue” (from 1995) arrived, the set was galloping along nicely.

Following spirited renditions of Rainy Day Music highpoints “Tampa to Tulsa” and “Eyes of Sarahjane”  former Green on Red guitarist Chuck Prophet appeared from the crowd for a set-closing blast through “I’d Run Away” from 1995’s back catalogue classic, “Tomorrow the Green Grass”.

Returning for an encore, a relaxed-looking Louris appeared to deviate from his intended set list when fans began shouting out requests, returning to the 1998 album “Weird Tales” by occasional side project Golden Smog for “If I Only Had A Car” and “Until You Came Along.”

Proceedings then concluded with “Tailspin”- The band’s twentieth and final song of an enjoyable evening that may not be repeated in the near future, recent press coverage confirming that Louris regretted the release of newly-recorded material when reforming the band in 2011. As a tribute band, though who better than the original players to evoke some welcome memories?

Mike Bolam

 

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