Jenny and Johnny at The East Brunswick Club
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Jenny and Johnny at The East Brunswick Club

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When they get going, Jenny and Johnny sound like they could be the house band at a Southern hick bar, playing behind a protective layer of chicken-wire – Patrick Swayze Roadhouse-style. It is a dirty, boozy, boogie-woogie style of country rock that you can’t help but love. Unfortunately for the punters at Thursday night’s gig, those moments were few and far between; it seemed like the band were flat and the audience were flat right back at them.

Workman-like is probably the best description of the night: they came out, worked their way through the album with a minimum of banter, went off the requisite two minutes before coming back to play another couple of songs and done which is bad.

It simply lacked passion. Rock and roll needs some grit, some balls, something to get you going.

That said, the songs sounded near record-perfect. Jenny Lewis’s vocals blend perfectly with Johnny Rice, creating a rich, layered sound. They belted through their one record with Committed and Big Wave as standouts. They also delved into a little of Jenny’s back catalogue, including a lovely acoustic version of Silver Lining at the start of the encore before finishing on the bar room stomp of Carpetbagger. Not a stellar gig, but serviceable.

Loved: Watching Jenny Lewis shimmy and shake while playing bass; it was like the good old days of Veruca Salt.

Hated : Johnny Rice’s greasy, plastered down hair. If he is managing to go out with Jenny Lewis looking like that, he is the luckiest man in rock and roll.

Drank: Pints.

JACK FRANKLIN