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Underworld, London, 1 September 2005

Three band bill tonight although sadly no Pride as billed on the posters outside the venue, shame as I was looking forward to seeing them live. Humanity were first up at just after 7:30 so as a result the crowd was sparse to say the least!

Humanity play a riff heavy brand of classic metal – nothing really stood out for me I am afraid and even the keyboards seemed there to bookend each song. Okay to listen to live but nothing out of the ordinary. Black Balloon were on next and their brand of classic rock riffs mixed in with pop punk was quite appealing. Their last song was the nest (not because it was the last song!) as it featured some tasty slide playing and seemed to go down well the crowd, who by this time had swelled in numbers to around 150 or so.

Jeff Scott Soto is the consummate frontman and can turn his voice to virtually any style of singing, as was witnessed later on in the set. A joy to see a Soul SirkUS number added to his solo set in the shape of the hard rocking ‘New Religion’.

Old favourites on display included ‘Eyes Of Love’, slightly marred by too loud a bass in the mix, ‘I’ll Be Waiting’ and Humanimal’s ‘Waiting 2 Be Found’. Off his last solo album we got ‘Soul Divine’ and the mellower ‘If This Is he End’. Guitarist Howie Simon took lead vocals for a Doobie Brothers (I think) cover whose name escapes me.

An acoustic interlude saw some covers including Queen’s ‘Love Of My Life’ (shame there weren’t more Queen songs in the set, bar a snippet of ‘We Will Rock You’ later in the set). Closing the set was ‘High Time’ mixed in with some classic rock covers.

We got the Scorpions’ Rock You Like A Hurricane’, Rainbow’s ‘All Night Long’ and even a Dave Lee Roth impression on ‘Yankee Rose’! The good thing about JSS solo gigs is that the emphasis is on great music and having a good time as these covers show.

Encore time saw the ‘Boogie Knights’ medley with all sorts of funky stuff going on including Wild Cherry’s ‘Play That Funky Music’ and ‘Macho Man’!

Another great gig and why JSS is still playing small venues like this is beyond me as he is made for the big stage and light shows. A 'must see' live performer if ever there was one.

Review: Jason Ritchie

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