JACOB YATES and THE PEARLY GATE LOCK PICKERS.
The intimate confines of Nice ‘n’ Sleazy in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street are pretty well packed for tonight’s headliners. It’s the album launch party for the redoubtable JACOB YATES and THE PEARLY GATE LOCK PICKERS, and naturally enough the set contains almost all the tracks on the new LP.
The band are known around these parts for their self-styled ‘Doom Wop’ music and while their individual style is undoubtedly on the dark side at times, there’s a distinct bounce and swagger about the delivery. It’s really about a mix of the sounds from The Deep South as it developed into Rockabilly, combining Blues with Rock and Roll, and giving it all a bit of a modern twist.
Opening song ‘Can’t Stop’ immediately has the crowd on their feet as Jacob delivers the vocals in his inimitable slightly hoarse growl, becoming more forceful as the song reaches its conclusion. Behind him, the others pound out a stomping beat, with the piano giving the song a real sound of urgency.
Second song in is new to me. At least, despite seeing the band play live around five or six times, it doesn’t ring a bell. It’s certainly not on the album. Whatever, it kinda rocks along and maintains the early momentum. From here on in, it’s all about ‘Luck’ – the new album. The pace is kept high with new single ‘Lemonade’ and its Bo Diddley refrain and slide-guitar playing from the now seated keyboards player.
‘Dundee’ features some more slide-playing, this time by Jacob himself, albeit in a far more subdued, bluesy mood. The piano lightens the gloomy sounding deep drumbeat and bass-line, but Jacob’s vocals reflect a rather depressing tone that develops into a full-on wail. ‘Mark’ has that haunting, Southern swamp-music sound while ‘The Black Dog’ takes the form of an out-and-out Rockabilly song.
But as with all JACOB YATES and THE PEARLY GATE LOCK PICKERS’ shows, it’s the next two songs, ‘Mary Hell’ and ‘When You Left Me’ that the crowd really want to hear. The former creates the image of the Maryhill area of Glasgow being inhabited by the ‘walking dead,’ while the latter deals with the passing of Jacob’s father. It sounds depressing, but the tale is interspersed with anecdotes (which seem to change from gig to gig) of the singer and his father. It’s maybe an exorcism of guilt at not being around when his father died, but it’s one hell of a song that truly has the crowd spellbound whenever played ‘live.’
Finally, after a brief stage exit, the band returns to play a one-song encore. Arguably the best of the evening, their version of the Tom Waits song ‘Way Down In The Hole’ is an absolute showstopper! Jacob, who appears a touch more subdued tonight than usual, really comes into his own stomping around the stage like some ‘Fire and Brimstone’ preacher-man. And ‘amen’ to that!
Hell yeah! It’s another great night and an excellent showcase for an excellent album!