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& THE BLACKHEARTS, 100 Club, London
14 June 2010
What with a
forthcoming Runaways bio pic, a 'Greatest Hits' collection and a stadium
tour with Green Day on the horizon, these are exciting times for Joan
Jett. Then there's the little matter of this, her first UK club
appearance for 20 years at the iconic 100 Club which sold out in 4
minutes. Clearly Joan Jett is living up to her status as a 'permanent
force in mainstream culture'.
tonight's show surpassed all expectations, it also illustrated why her
fist pumping, chant along hooks and Goth good looks remain the perfect
conduit between standing on rock's periphery and claiming the centre
Clad top to
toe in a black cat suit with jet black hair and mascara, Joan appears
perfectly preserved in aspic, circa 1981. Her brand of pre-Riot Girl
fem-rock recalls a time when rock finally eschewed its punk clothing and
embraced fist pumping tribal chanted choruses. And while Joan
undoubtedly makes a connection with her adoring crowd through coherent
intros, cursory waves of the arm, a warm smile and some occasional rock
strutting. she's essentially a wily band leader who understands the
importance of the show.
respects her image is partly at odds with her natural exuberance and a
result the more risqué songs are often stripped of any sense of their
opening 'Bad Reputation' made its impact via its vacuous punk refrain
and the cover of The Replacements humorous 'Androgynous' proved to be an
enjoyable sing-along exposition of blurred sexual edges complete with
four part harmonies.
like the power chord rocker 'Love is Pain', which made the most of
another catchy chorus without really embracing the lyrical meaning, it
was almost as if the sexual oriented lyrics were little more than
attention seeking device.
having clearly connected with the anthemic quality of the chorus, Joan
seemed momentarily oblivious to the female voices in the crowd who at
the song's conclusion continued the chorus on their own.
On the expansively introduced 'Fetish' - 'an object believed to have
spiritual powers, an object of excessive attention, a reference,
fixation' - she did turn her back to the crowd and wiggle suggestively
in front of the drummer; albeit with a sense of humour sharply at odds
with the meaning of the song.
all to do with Joan's vivacity and rock's need for the grand gesture.
After blazing into 'Cherry Bomb, she's shouted out, 'its nice n' hot and
sweaty, let's have some fun, don't be shy' and counted the band into
Springsteen's rocking 'Light of Day'. This song neatly encapsulated all
that is good about The Blackhearts from Joan's rasping vocals and her
pounding rhythm section to the visceral guitar breaks. It was simply
good old rock & roll at its best!
side of the inevitable school disco chant of 'Do You Wanna Touch Me? (Oh
Yeah)' the band rocked out impressively on 'Victim of Circumstance',
which she announced twice at the end of the song as if to remind us how
good it was.
was more to come with the Keith Richard style 'I Love Playing With Fire'
and the T Rex flavoured riffs of the Runaways favourite 'You Drive Me
added some emotive phrasing on the self revelatory 'Naked' which proved
to be a much better song than the punkier 'Fake Friends'. And by the
time of the heavier 'Fetish', the 100 Club was seriously rocking before
the band quickly segued into an MTV flashback of 'I Love Rock & Roll'.
euphorically received 'Clover & Crimson' ensured an encore, with Sweet's
'AC/DC' being a belated return to the ambivalent Glam Rock era that will
forever be part of Joan Jett's rock & roll persona.
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts may be a rock band in sheep's clothing, as
they showed tonight they're still capable of biting your ass.
by Pete Feenstra
Photos by John Rahim. All rights reserved.
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