welcome to the school of rock
Jet @ NEX, Newcastle NSW Australia 29/05/2018 written by Brendan Lewis, photos by Pete Coates – Inside Edge Photography
*Beep-beep-beep* it’s 7:00am, time for school….. Wait, hang on? School?.... Oh f***, I’m SEVENTEEN!!....again, I must’ve entered some sort of time warp when I entered my childhood home in the Stereophonics review! As if the first time wasn’t bad enough, with that cold hard bitch that wouldn’t go out with me, stupid exam papers that make we wanna rip it up, (like seriously, WTF is algebra?!) and those $150 faded print jeans that went out of fashion shortly after., and all in all, makes me shout “get me outta here ASAP!” What never goes out of fashion though, is Aussie rock icons JET, and they’re hitting the road for their 15th anniversary tour of the debut album that set our black hearts on fire, ‘Get Born’.
“Take a seat kiddies, Rock-101 starts now”...
Our Rock-101 teacher, Jet, don’t waste any time getting us straight to work, a sudden and up-beat kick-off launches us into ‘Last Chance’, followed by all-time classic, ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’ and if you’ve done your homework, you’d know the next song would of course be ‘Rollover D.J’. The high energy on stage is firing up the already hyped up/grogged-up crowd, and the pleasant sound mix on a whole, gets everyone jumping and singing along in high/intoxicated spirits…. Ah yes, just like my old school. If like me, you truly loathed your school days, and only really enjoyed one subject (music), ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’ to me seems a little like having music class up first in the day, leaving the rest of the day drag out and laborious… will this be the case tonight I fear? For now though, the insane energy, improvisations in the already iconic bass lines, gets the crowd singing along to every word and the energy is at a red-hot blaze, made even greater with an anticipation-building pause in the bridge, before singing “are you gonna be my girl” and the killer rock-out solo drops! ‘Rollover D.J’ luckily keeps the hyped energy just as high, and even gets the crowd jumping in sync to the beat, like using a skipping rope in PDHPE class… whilst drunk. And yes, the sound mix has been worthy of good marks so far, but the bass seems a little too loud and reminds me of that sh** of a kid in music class, that just wants to goof around and make as much noise as possible while you’re trying to practice…. And for that, I give it a B+.
For periods 4, 5, 6 and 7 we have ‘Look What You’ve Done’, ‘Get What You Need’, ‘Move On’ and ‘Radio Song’ (respectively) to work with. Up first in ‘Look What You’ve Done’, lead singer Nic’s now soft and wholesome voice excels exceedingly in the more stripped back sound, just like that one brainiac kid that’s way smarter than the rest of us. The songs’ more melancholy and mellow vibe with a retro-style build up in the bridge section is a refreshing contrast to the high-intensity rock prior, and the mix of sound performs far better to a perfect A+, with all sounds graded evenly by the mixer. Like a typical pop-quiz, the energy is mixed up and keeps us on our feet, as ‘Get What You Need’s roaring guitar riffs, Nic’s raw rock vocals and the songs’ extravagant rock out’s towards the end of the song, get the crowd recharged to the max as they resume their jumping and drunken yell outs. And just when you think you’re all over this energy pop-quiz, ‘Move On’ dishes out an acoustic guitar initiated, country-esque vibe, that makes the audience wave their arms from side to side, as if raising their arms to ask the band “where’s the killer energy gone?”, but definitely mixes things up and keeps my attention in focus. ‘Radio Song’ reminds me of when your teacher is too lazy to teach, and just chucks on a movie that you’ve only seen half a million times, with the songs cinematic, closing credits-like vibe. This song like the few before it, see lead singer Nic move around the stage, as if checking that we’re all working, but now, with a more emotional urgency to Nic’s vocals, which are accompanied by more complementing lights and the song rising in dynamics, from the acoustic guitar and piano intro, to the denser thicker full electric production after the first verse.
Just like at school, when you’re right at the front of the class, you cop all the unwanted attention from the teacher, I’m so glad I’m not right in the middle up here at the front of the crowd. ‘Get Me Outta Here’ and ‘Cold Hard Bitch’ bring the energy up to mind-boggling heights, with their AC/DC stadium-rock worthy riffs and rock bites and get the crowd jumping to the nicely mixed sound like the drinks that people are spilling over me (Kudos to the bartender). But just like school, there’s bound to be some class that you don’t like particularly, so if you’re not a fan or struggle with the fast-pace rock anthems, maybe take a wander down to the Ag-farm for some more laid-back outback tunes like ‘Come Around Again’ and ‘Timothy’. But if you were one to just not care about school at all, and only went to catch up with your mates and have a laugh while checking out the eye candy of the opposite sex, then the fun groovy/sexy rock beat and bass/guitar riffs in ‘Lazy Gun’ have got you covered!
Oh wow, you’ve all finished your work and there’s still time left? Here’s some more for you! Luckily, the band may have completed all the songs off ‘Get Born’, but it seems there’s plenty more to come! The show really reaches its peak as the band test our excitement with loved hits like the old-school reminiscent teen-rocker ‘Seventeen’, with it’s attention demanding vocal hooks that get the crowd slurring around in perfect drunk harmony (pretty sure drinking at school is against the rules, although this is the school of rock). ‘She’s A Genius’ with its anthemic ripper riffs and high and mighty vocals which are performed perfectly and the songs’ insane rock blast of energy, that makes the crowd go wild, spilling drinks galore…. Seriously guys, I’m starting to look and feel like a freakin’ cocktail! And just like the teacher keeping their classes attention fixated, Nic lets the crowd sing the main vocal line as the final frontier of the song drops, like the teacher letting the class answer the question. Finally, after the band teach us about their experiences on their journey so far and writing ‘Get Born’, plus giving us all they’ve got musically and physically, they thank us one last time and finish up this class with ‘Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is’. This song gets a perfect mark, with Nic’s soft high vocals in the songs’ verses, and roaring rough yet melodic power surges in the chorus, with vocal harmonies to assist, and with the songs over-all energy, finishes the set off on a blazing hype!
*Ding!* that’s the bell folks, time to go home… Hahaha! Just kidding, you’ve got detention!
I personally felt satisfied with the set and how it was finished off and aren’t dying for an encore, but the rest of the audience, well, they’ve still got more drinks to spill! After a thunderous roar from the crowd, the band return to the stage for two more, the nostalgic tear-jerker ‘Shine On’ and the blaze of glory in ‘Rip It Up’. The energy in the venue for ‘Rip It Up’ is a bit too insane, yes the bands’ musical energy is astounding sure, but I hardly think it’s appropriate to form a death circle and run around like bulls seeing red! Still, as far as the band are concerned, this is a perfect way to end the show!
Time for grading…
Bands’ performance; A+
The sound mix; A- (was great for the most parts, but not spot on from start to finish)
The crowd; F- (I’d rather not be a living fruit tingle thanks)
The set i,e flow and length; A (was perfectly flowed, but I felt it was slightly too long)
Over-all mark; B++ (brilliant and highly enjoyable, but not flawless)