Live Music Andrew Jackson Jihad

Published on June 12th, 2015 | by Ben Adsett

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Andrew Jackson Jihad, Hard Girls & GODA – 10/06/15, Birmingham

On a sunny Wednesday there is nothing I would rather be doing than watching bands play their hearts out whilst standing in a receptive crowd. This was one of those sunny Wednesdays, taking into account the Rainbow basement writing it’s own ‘toilet venue’ punch lines (the venue involves walking through a toilet). In a way the hot venue with an aroma of both sweat and toilets was the perfect place for a punk show, DIY or die right?

The first act of the night were Birmingham’s own Ghosts of Dead Airplanes who started like a rat out of a trap, within seconds of taking the stage they were tearing through a set list of modern postpunk. GODA have a clever approach to delivery, with every aspect of their live set being delivered with an oxymoronic polished chaos. Musically there is an almost timeless quality to this four-piece, combinations of the punk and alternative scenes created a balanced sound. For me obvious comparisons are Bromheads Jacket, Dustin’s Bar Mitzvah and the Wave Pictures all of which have a similar postpunk sound which embraces modern waves of punk, postpostpunk if you like.

San Jose’s Hard Girls were responsible for really getting the room going and subsequently adding to the humidity. There are few bands who can effortlessly switch into and out of hook laden poppunk whilst continuing to create razor sharp guitar lines in such a tight way as live entity. On a guitar level there were so many complex moments within the Hard Girls set, moments of math rock time signature shifting, clever feedback and even a few little guitar solos. These moments were great but what made them greater was the way these combine with often equally complex bass and drum lines to create a warm complexity.

This complexity was slightly surreal, HG’s seem to have the rare skill of playing a style that can often be a little pretentious but making it completely accessible. This is a credit to the song writing  process and the musicianship these three have in the bag. As for being a live entity the band offer stage presence, charming between song patter and the feeling that you are watching three buddies have fun on a stage. I think the last point is the key, HG’s good vibes were infections and throughout the audience foot taps, became head nods and eventually rhythmic shoulder shrugs.

Suitably warmed up in both temperature and musical mood, Andrew Jackson Jihad walked out to rapturous applause and cemented themselves as heroes of the underground scene. The audience moved forward and got as close to the stage as possible, within a note of the opening song the room was a sea of flailing arms and the basement walls were bouncing back each and every vocal.

AJJ have a stylish mixture of strong political opinion, obscure references, humour and the absurd which have created a sound that captures the hearts and minds of the DIY community. The folk punk they create on a musical level is completely on point, it’s subtle and offers fragility in equal measures to the rousing rebellious chorus’ which unite in meaningful chorus. Factoring in humble charming between song conversations and a wild live style it is clear AJJ deserve the plaudits.

The crowd stayed on side for the entire hour set creating an atmosphere of disappointment when the final notes and applause left the humid room in relative quiet. This was a show I could have watched for hours there is so much to AJJ with the set list perfectly balanced to allow songs that covered almost every subject imaginable.

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