JJ72 - 11/14/01 @ Martyrs'

How much long must I/we wait for the US to realize that the UK know what they are doing…music wise at least?

Wednesday night’s performance by JJ72 at the ever so intimate Martyrs’ showed that the future of music is not in how loud a guitar is played or how naked a singer can get before it becomes too much…it showed no matter how much clothing you have on you can still play your guitar loud and still have passion behind it all and still be a well respected and listened to band.

Their self-titled debut album has been out for over a year. I was introduced to them at my work (Virgin) where we’d play the hell out of the then import. Now with their domestic release and several videos later, JJ72 has stamped their name into the next UK invasion (plus they opened up for several U2 tour dates in Ireland…their homeland, which also helped in some name recognition). Playing seven off their debut and four new tracks you could already see the progression…the debut is heavy on the emotion and clever guitar riffs which can be compared to Coldplay's technique (or vice vera depending on your view on things)…yet each have their own origianl sound. Lead singer, Mark Greaney, voice bellows out similar to Placebo's Brian Molko. The new tracks have heavier lyrics and have powerful usage of their instruments. The band has a punk edge with a cool look.

Such “popular” hits were “Snow,” “October Swimmer,” “Undercover Angel,” “Algeria,” and “Oxygen.” Out of the 11 songs 2 were done acoustically solo by the Greaney …who at times, if you’d look away, would have thought the Tanya Donelly, lead singer from Belly was on stage with him...but over all made the place go quiet.

This all being said, I realized how radio has such an impact in this country. Taking the current UK-on-the-US-charts-bands, like Coldplay for example, we only know them and like them because of their hits we hear on the radio. After seeing Coldplay earlier this year and seeing the crowd after the show, I had to fight to get an autograph…yet after the JJ72 show there were only four of us who waited and the band came to us and with all smiles asked if we’d like anything signed.

We no longer live in a land where radio stations go by their gut and play what they think is cool…now a song/band goes through so much to finally get played on the radio. This is scary to think about…if the way it is now were to be the way it was 10 years ago, such bands as Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins, and Pearl Jam would not have been as big as they are today. There would have been too much controversy and the groups would be labeled too different, too "alternative” for this world right now. A current situation can be taken as an example, The Strokes…if it wasn’t for the UK picking up the New York group and throwing it back at us we most likely would not have known who the hell these individuals are.

It just goes to show how closed minded society gets when it comes to talent and it’s sad to see great talent such as JJ72 and the hundreds of other bands out there that have to seek society rather than society seeking them.

--Todd - Chicago - iownu2@yahoo.com

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