Juliette And The Licks
It's not everyday a cult movie star rocks up into your home town, well not if your home town is Portsmouth anyway, but that's what happened on Wednesday night. Juliette Lewis star of the cult classics Natural Born Killers and From Dusk Till Dawn was performing at the Pyramids with her band The Licks.
Before Juliette And The Licks we were 'treated' to music by London four piece Metro Riots. Front man Damo swaggered out on stage thinking he was the bee's knees dressed in sunglasses, leather jacket and skinny jeans. This is where they made their first mistake, sorry if I sound harsh, but wearing sunglasses at a gig that's indoors and dark doesn't make you look cool, it makes you look like a pretentious twat. Also asking people to add you on Myspace "because we only have 8000 friends" does not make you sound cool, it makes you sound like a pretentious twat. And finally, you don't have to ask the audience after every song if they are looking forward to seeing Juliette. For some reason he ignored the fact that she has a band, although he was probably right in thinking that everyone was there for her rather than the music. Anyway, about their performance, bland would be a good way to describe it. You didn't feel compelled to watch them, they had no stage presence and there was nothing about them that made them stand out from the crowd. Although they were good at playing their instruments and they sounded really clear and crisp, their music was generic and all their songs sounded pretty much the same. The audience didn't seem interested in their performance either, no one was dancing, no one really applauded after their songs and they seemed more content to chat amongst themselves or wander round the venue. When Metro Riots finished their set they barely got a clap.
After about half an hour the lights dimmed and cheers filled the room, although there wasn't anyone on stage and that's the way it stayed for the next five minutes. Bassist Paul was first out on stage he was welcomed by a warm applause that soon stopped when the crowd realised that there was no sign of Juliette. Paul played a few notes and drummer Jason came out and barely got a clap, anyway he picked up his sticks and started playing. Guitarists Todd and Kemble were next out, who again hardly received any kind of applause or welcome to the stage. The Licks jammed for a good four minutes with most of the crowd just staring at them like they were aliens. Finally Juliette stepped onto the stage and the crowd erupted, cheering, screaming, shouting, clapping, which confirmed my earlier suspicions that they were there for one person and one person only. It was kind of a weird atmosphere in the room, you could feel excitement, but hardly anyone was dancing, just the few die hard fans at the front, no one was singing, everyone was just kind of stood in awe of Juliette. It was strange. Her performance seemed staged, every song was compiled of the following moves, right punch, left kick, throwing her head from side to side, going to the left of the stage, then to the right, shimmying up to the guitarist before doing a little booty shake, and practically all songs were finished with her jumping in the air. Vocally she sounded ok seeing as she was talking. All the true vocal came from The Licks who actually sung. The Licks sounded great, their instruments were clear and you could pick out each one individually. Their vocal performance was impressive, those guys know how to carry a tune. It was clear that they were enjoying their time on stage and that they love playing music. It's a shame that their talent will never truly be recognised as no one looks past Juliette, they are talented guys and they deserve to do well but any success they have will come of the back of her name.
Overall it wasn't a great gig, but watching The Licks made the night worthwhile.