Mike Atkinson

Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong – Nottingham Rescue Rooms, Monday May 19

Posted in gigs, Nottingham Post, Rescue Rooms by Mike A on May 19, 2008

Back in early January, it was all going so swimmingly for Joe Lean’s preposterously named crew.Tipped by the BBC’s influential “Sound of 2008” poll, and with a second place billing on the NME Awards Tour to look forward to, it seemed as if 2008 was theirs for the asking.

Fast forward to mid-May, and what do we find? That tour’s opening act has the current Number One single (step forward, The Ting Tings), while the Jing Jang Jong have endured a string of wretched reviews and a flop single, and are now playing to scatterings of mildly curious, mostly non-committal punters at half-empty venues like the Rescue Rooms.

Based on this almost laughably dismal show (under 45 minutes, no encore), you had to wonder how they got to be so handsomely hyped in the first place. Granted, some of their early demos showed sparks of personality and potential, before being flattened into generic indie-lite – but the JJJ’s most glaring weakness was their utter inability to engage the crowd.

The chief offender in this respect was Joe Lean himself: a front man so fundamentally irritating that his sheer cluelessness almost bordered on the heroic. From his skinny-hipped Jagger-esque wiggle to his Lydon-esque thousand yard stare, none of his rag-bag of semi-digested poses rang true.

Stuck at the side of the stage, and displaying more energy and commitment then the rest of the band put together, drummer James Craig (aka “Bummer Jong”) deserved better than this bunch of sorry chancers. Perhaps his time is yet to come.

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