That was the power Jez Kemp was supplying on 6 May 2014 at the Brunswick Hotel.
Delivering a tight pop-rock set, Jez Kemp was a dynamo on stage. At times it was almost difficult to believe it was happening. Or at least that it was happening in Melbourne in a small bar on a Tuesday night. Twisting and turning and jumping and screaming, Jez owned the vibe in the bar. It’s not possible that anyone could be indifferent to his performance. That he was able to keep himself upright and on the stage was a feat only topped by his ability to keep his voice and guitar in tune.
And he brought the energy to his audience. Chatting and joking between songs, Jez made the bar feel more like a group of friends than an audience watching a detached musician lost in his own world. Of course, many artists have their audience singing along and clapping their hands, but Jez imparted a natural warmth and connection whilst rocking out that few artists achieve.
One day I’ll do all this with my feet and it’ll look so much better
With Jez’s powerful stage presence, it’s probably not a bad thing that this was a solo show. His carefully-crafted backing tracks gave us the wall of sound that’d normally require a full band. The combination of Jez’s performance and his well-recorded backing tracks certainly gave his audience the energy and the sound of a full band. And there was no cheating. Jez definitely sung all the parts himself and we could definitely hear his guitar.
Stylistically, Jez’ pop-rock is a fresh reminder of the best of the last few decades. Echoing the likes of Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters, his songs are a perfect blend of raw energy and catchy choruses. And those songs stay true to his punk roots – political and antiestablishment themes are laced throughout, combining with his strong respect for the disadvantaged, the troubled and the forgotten. Tackling subject as diverse as prostitution, self-harm and dinosaurs, this is music that’s as fun as it is healthy.
Jez Kemp is in Melbourne for a limited time only, so be sure to catch him while you can. Get the latest on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/jezkemp). To get an idea of what to expect, check out his recent album Airfix Democracies (http://jezkemp.bandcamp.com/album/airfix-democracies).