Bare Jams / Indigo Children / Backwoods Creek / Taygan Paxton [Live Review – The Boileroom, Guildford, 11/6/14]

bare jams rigglet gigWhen you get to a small venue and see security standing outside, you know it’s going to be a busy night. It’s a neon-jacketed signal that tells you this show has already sold a significant number of tickets before it’s even opened its doors. Latecomers are likely to find themselves missing out. However, it’s also quite common for pre-booked punters to take their time preening and perfecting their looks before heading down to the venue – meaning that the opening acts may still end up playing to a fraction of the crowd drawn by the headliners.

It’s a common assumption that opening acts are opening simply because they’re not very good – but this evening’s headliners were also its organisers, and it’s very safe to say that Bare Jams have fantastic taste! Every act on this bill was high quality. So much for common assumptions, then…

If you took your time getting to this show, prepare to commence kicking yourself. The acts you missed were:

Taygan Paxton

A great tone-setting choice of opening act, Taygan Paxton’s no-nonsense vocal-and-acoustic-guitar setup eased earlycomers into the evening’s vibe with grace, professionalism, and delicate tunes.

Personally, Taygan Paxton reminds me of local legend Natalie Ross, minus the digital effects and full-on vintage stagewear. There were some vintage touches to Taygan Paxton’s stage presence, but here the songs took centre stage and held the audience in a gentle but persuasive grip for the duration. This is the unmistakable work of a very powerful and soon to be great songsmith.

Overall, a wicked start to the evening’s proceedings.

Backwoods Creek

As this group’s name suggests, old-school country and lilting American folk were the order of the half hour here. Backwoods Creek’s style isn’t usually my thing, so it seemed very fresh to me despite its obvious roots in long-treasured traditions.

There were some beautiful subtleties on display here – sparse and tasty soloing on guitar, violin, and mandolin; very sweet vocal harmonies; and even guitar-and-violin unison lines that blended wonderfully. The overall effect was mesmerising, and I came away thinking that perhaps I should listen to more stuff like this.

Things got much more intense from this point, with the arrival of…

Indigo Children

Funky as fuck. Seriously. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a crowd move this sexily – the only comparable sets I could think of at that point were performed by By The Rivers and Tree House Fire – and it really was an awesome sight.

Indigo Children know how to hold a crowd in the palms of their hands and keep them dancing until the final demands for a denied encore die away. Their acoustic-centric blend of soul, pop, rock, funk, and more soul won the hearts and minds of strangers and long-time devotees alike – including mine. Truly epic.

However, the evening’s headliners…

…Bare Jams…

…were not to be outdone.

The level of focus Bare Jams demonstrated reminded me of Jamiroquai’s set at Magic Summer Live last year. Taking the stage after funk and soul legends Chic and Joss Stone, Jamiroquai’s collective concentration reached almost meditative levels at times. You knew that they knew they had their work cut out for them, and they rose to the challenge like true professionals. In Bare Jams’ case, they set this show up – thus raising the bar so high by the time they took the stage that you had to wonder how anyone could possibly jump it.

It’s a testament to Bare Jams’ generosity and dedication to their audience that they not only crammed their own bill with brilliant musicians who would challenge them to push themselves right at the end of an already hectic day, but also jumped onstage and sucked a packed room into their world from beat one. Solid and sexy grooves spread languidly around the venue and made it impossible for anyone to stay still.

Actually, I did see one guy remain stoically unmoved – but personally I reckon he was a professional human statue pushing his skills to near-Jedi levels.

Limits were definitely reached here. Bare Jams worked themselves to the point of exhaustion while new tune Fast Feet induced a skank frenzy so intense that you could see the sweat soaking into a ceiling papered with old gig posters. Throw in stunning solos from a sadly departing saxophonist, a cover of I Shot The Sheriff, a dry ice overload that made the whole place smell like Laser Quest, and an extra Bob Marley cover (Three Little Birds) as a set-closing encore, and you just couldn’t ask for more from these guys. Bare Jams fans old and new left with smiles splitting into grins, and I left with enough inspiration to write all of these words.

Kudos to Bare Jams and the Boileroom team for yet another epic evening. Don’t stop, and keep going!


Bare Jams official website.

Indigo Children on Facebook.

Backwoods Creek on Facebook.

Taygan Paxton on Facebook.

The Boileroom official website.

Follow TMMP on Twitter for more awesome music! If you’re a regular reader, thanks for the support! Don’t stop, and keep going!

Posted on 12 June 2014

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