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JOHN PAUL JONES – Old Crow Medicine Show/David Rawlings Machine, The Troxy, London

18 September 2010 5,959 views One Comment

Nearly missed the gig as my flight from Azerbaijan was late and made me miss my connection in Frankfurt….here my little review and pictures from an ace night.

Sometimes it is really nice going to a gig where you don’t know what to expect. Friday was such an occasion and despite being so knackered after a long trip back from Azerbaijan, that I wished I went for seats instead, I could add the Troxy in East London to my list of favorite venues. Similar to Brixton Academy, Hammersmith Odeon and the Kentish Town Forum it is an old theatre that found a new lease of life as an amazing concert venue in our beautiful city.

Dave Rawlings Machine was on first and JPJ was his usual self on these occasions, going about his business quietly in the background not trying to cause a fuss….bless him. Musically though he was very much a force of nature and his mandolin playing was yet again exceptional. Dave Rawlings Machine had further guests that evening in the form of country legend Gillian Welch and Willie Watson and Ketch Secor from tonight’s main act, The Old Crow Medicine Show.

Musically it was all very Nashville with a big dose of good ol country, but played with a twist that made it an incredible fun evening. Unlike hundreds of rednecks in the audience, howling away all evening, I wasn’t too familiar with the output of Dave Rawlings but covers from This land is your land and Neil Young were mixed in really well into his own material. JPJ switched to fiddle at times and at one stage he was part of a triangular attack of fiddler’s finest with Ketch Secor and Willie Watson, which went down a storm.

The main act of the evening was Old Crow Medicine Show and after a frantic opening that can only be described as speed-country things got a bit quieter with some well executed, but to my liking a bit too country, classics from their catalogue, judging by the reaction from the  highly intoxicated audience who didn’t mind one bit. But things picked up nicely soon again and the foot stomping went into overdrive when JPJ, Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch got invited back to the stage half way through the set. By that time space on stage was at a premium as 2 mandolins, countless banjos, an upright bass, at least 2 guitars played ever more enjoyable country classic with incredible speed and finesse. Banjo duels swapped with mandolin extravaganzas and the whole place was rocking.  The icing on the cake came in the form of Mumford & Sons who joined an already crowded stage for the last part of the show. It must have been close to 15 people on stage by that time and after one of their current smash hits, things got back to country music of the finest quality. The final song of the night was the fitting and incredibly well received The Weight from The Band. 25 minutes past their curfew the jam on the stage turned into a traffic jam as the countless musicians on stage tried to make their way past to their dressing room for a well deserved rest.

Good ol‘ country will never replace rock n roll as my favourite form of music, but on nights like these, when it’s played at breakneck speed with a quality that’s beyond doubt by artists clearly enjoying themselves, it is a joy to behold. This night also served as yet another reminder (after the 2 recent Band of Joy gigs in London) that there is a whole universe of music out there yet to be explored.

While many Zeppelin fans out there keep demanding more reunion shows and see everything else as a waste of time, evenings like this  are proof that there is life beyond Zeppelin for its members, and whatever the 3 deem worthy throwing our way I am happy to take in and enjoy it as much as they do. JPJ was only a very small part of that evening but seeing the legend in action was worth it alone, the fact that the rest of the offering was as amazing as it was, just added to a truly wonderful evening…thanks again Dave for the infoJ

Andreas Stocker, London

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One Comment »

  • Andreas Stocker said:

    listened to the BOJ show from New York yesterday on the NPR live stream and Plant thanked Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch for allowing them to use their studio to record BOJ. He also commented on JPJ now touring with them in his usual tongue-in-cheek fashion…..and so the circle closes. One can just hope that Jimmy dusts off his old Martin and they get together for a few accoustic Zep-infused nights to celebrate the 40th anniversary since the release of Zep III …:)

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