Live at Nightrain, Bradford 14th October 2023
Once upon a time I saw a fledgling Joy Division support The Buzzcocks. As you might imagine, the punk-pop came over quite different after the sturm und drang of Joy Division. Last night, in Bradford’s Nightrain, Jared James Nicols was similarly banjaxed by having to play after the almost telepathic three-piece formation of Dewolff. The Netherlands band channelled The Allman Brothers gone jazz, with soulful Hammond organ, jazzy drums and lyrical guitar. On extended workouts the jamming was deep and moving and their fifty-minute set allowed for plenty of solos – even an imaginative one from the drums. This is a band to check out.
Jared followed with a scorched earth policy. In a Ted Nugent / early ZZ Top style, he blitzed with loud and in-your-face hard blues rock. Hammering his Gibson Les Paul, Nicols is a solid man, planted firmly in a sound and a place, his guitar almost a toy in his large hands. Squeezing hard blues solos out, he plants himself up front, foot on a monitor frequently, enjoying the physicality of the reaction. Loud and furious is the signature of this band and there isn’t a lot of variety but perhaps there isn’t much needed in a hard rock club on a Saturday in a decaying Northern town. Certainly, the clientele are taking it in enthusiastically.
Jared James Nicol’s band is a three-piece too, spread wide-apart on the stage, arena style, but dragging on the visual interplay energy a little. Nicols plants himself solid enough to carry that soulful driving voice, while visual excitement comes from his British bassist, who appears to be enjoying the vibe as he pushes the bass poses as far as he can. A big man, Jared’s music is a proper continuation of the hard rock tradition, a stolid iteration of the form, something to savour. His playing is fast and full, no fancy trickery, just the speed, noise and fury, though a side-trip into ‘Jessica’ raises a smile. Equally, the encore of ‘Warpigs’ brings on a massed sing-a-long and energetic soloing. Nicols’ style suffers after a more fluid and moving style of rock but if you like it hard and loud, this is a band that does it as well as the best.