Live review: Jon Cleary and The Absolute Monster Gentlemen at The Band On The Wall, Manchester – 20th August 2015

Posted on: Friday, Aug 21, 2015

Jon Cleary Aug15

Jon Cleary and The Absolute Monster Gentlemen at The Band On The Wall, Manchester – 20th August 2015

Over the many years of our enjoying live music, a handful of gigs will remain in the memory for an eternity. This appearance of Jon Cleary and The Absolute Monster Gentlemen at Manchester’s Band On The Wall fits snugly into that category of events. The son of Kent with his all-American band simply blew the assembled throng away with a vibrant performance of New Orleans style funk of the highest order.

The groove that was established with the first few notes of the opening number, “When You Get Back” remained locked in for the rest of the show. The breakneck pace of “So Damn Good” was contrasted with “Beg, Steal Or Borrow”, the first number to be included from the band’s latest album, “Go Go Juice”, while “Superman Lover” afforded Derwin ‘Big D’ Perkins the opportunity to deliver a sublime guitar solo. A fabulous version of Professor Longhair’s classic, “Tipitina”, featured a superb cameo from Cornell Williams on his five-string bass guitar before the slow and bluesy “Smile In A While” brought the first set to a close, complete with excellent vocal harmonies involving all four band members.

The second set opened with a tasty fusion of “Fools Game” and “Just Kissed My Baby”, which maintained a stunningly magnetic groove. The energetic title track of the new album made way for wonderful renditions of “Cheatin’ On You” and “Help Me Somebody”, the latter featuring another splendid guitar solo and a some highly entertaining, instrumental interplay between Big D and Cornell Williams. The funky “Groove Me” incorpoated a superlative drum cameo from Jamison Ross before the set climaxed with two more numbers from the new album – the lively “Pump It Up” and “Bringing Back The Home”, a heartfelt tribute to the regeneration of New Orleans in the wake of the floods that wreaked such havoc ten years ago.

A loudly demanded encore sprinkled icing on the already delicious cake to send an ecstatic audience home wreathed in smiles. Jon Cleary’s piano playing and vocals are absolutely top drawer and, backed by his three magnificent band members, the funkmeister never fails to deliver a world-class extravaganza. Pure Magic.

LIONEL ROSS

www.joncleary.com

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