The Jim Jones Revue in Toronto

September 16, 2011 at 3:08 am (Uncategorized)

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven!

Well I think Wordsworth would have felt that way if he’d been at the Jim Jones/Kid Congo show at the Horseshoe Tavern Tuesday night. There’s something about straightforward unpretentious rock ‘n’ roll that strips away the years, making you young again. And at the mostly full venue, that was a good thing, as the audience seemed, well, older. Yet through the magic of music, it didn’t matter a damn.

Kid Congo

Kid Congo Powers was a founding member of the Gun Club, leaving before they recorded Fire of Love to join the Cramps and recording Psychedelic Jungle with them. Congo played with the Gun Club a couple more times, but also worked with Nick Cave and Sally Norvell before his latest project Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds.

Congo and the band took the stage about 9:45 and immediately began with  “Sex Beat,” a song off of the Gun Club’s first album. Throughout their 55 minute set, Congo and the band played an energetic rock ranging from punk to sounds which would not have been out-of-place on a Dick Dale album.  Besides originals, Congo also played a couple of covers: the above mentioned “Sex Beat”, but also  “For the Love of Ivy,” a song he co-wrote with Jeffrey Lee Pierce, followed by the Cramps’ “I’m Cramped.”

Congo was an entertaining frontman with a charismatic camp presence. I wasn’t familiar with Congo’s most recent work before the show, but they made a convert out of me. Cool too that the band wore matching denim jackets! 

And the Pink Monkey Birds

So that was the appetizer, but onto the main course. To try to describe the Jim Jones Revue is a futile task because they have to be experienced. Sure, the records are a big fat slice of rock and roll by a band that might sound like the Sonics fronted by Little Richard or Jerry Lee, only much longer and much wilder, but it’s not enough.

Jim Jones

The band took the stage about 11:15 with a rock’n’ roll swagger and dressed the part. Wasting little time, they launched into a sweat drenched set. With continual references to the Montreal crowd, frontman Jim Jones spent much of the set trying to move the audience into wild abandon 

Songs? Yeah, a whole wack of things from the band’s second record Burning Your House Down including “High Horse,” “Shoot First,” “Killing Spree” and the title track, but it doesn’t really matter. You see, the JJR are a sound, and all their songs kind of sound the same – which isn’t a put down, it’s a compliment. Having that sound is crucial.

But speaking of sound, the band seems a little unhappy with the Horseshoe’s PA. Throughout the set, Jones requested changes to the sound, but it seemed to be only on the band’s side because the audience didn’t seem to notice anything wrong.  Of course, I might not of noticed anything given the volume. The Jim Jones Revue play LOUDLY!

One complaint though, which seems to be a frequent one these days, the main set was only 45 minutes. Even with a fabulous three-song encore, the show still clocked in an under an hour (about the same length of Kid Congo’s set). Call me picky.

If you’ve never seen these two bands, well too bad. But don’t worry, you can partially save your soul by investing in the records. Turn them up real loud and maybe you’re half way there.

The Jim Jones Revue


Here’s a clip someone was nice enough to post on You Tube




  1. The Jim Jones Revue: 2014 Toronto | Notes from Underground said,

    […] Last time the JJR play here, I complain about the length of the set. This time, the gods heard my prayer and, including that fantastic encore, the band are on-stage for 70 minutes. […]

  2. Zero M Concerts said,

    Nice write-up! Was also at the JJR show on Jan. 17/14 at The Horseshoe (Toronto). Love these guys! But the Kid Congo / JJR show was one of THE best shows I’ve seen in a long time! Would love to see Kid Congo headline in Toronto sometime! I was one of the ‘older’ folk you mentioned – never too old to rock ‘n’ roll! Glad you enjoyed the youtube video clip! 😉

    • fischerzed said,

      Thanks. Don’t want to upset you, but Kid Congo was here in, maybe, November. At the horseshoe with CatL. There’s a review of it somewhere on the blog. Really good.

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