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Saturday, 15 January 2011

Review: The Jim Jims at Twisters Bar in Colchester

I like that special feeling you get sometimes, that a band is playing just for you: The Jim Jims are good at creating an intimate atmosphere, although the impression was aided by the fact that there were only five of us listening for most of their two sets! A heroic struggle through trying circumstances is probably the best way to sum up the evening…
Twisters Bar put their bands on in a small area of floorspace, separated from the bar only by the route to the men’s toilet, and facing onto the main thoroughfare to the garden: I imagine it felt a bit like busking in a shopping centre. To add insult to injury, there’s a good bit of corner space the bands could play from, which is occupied by a ludicrously grandiose DJ booth. The band were using the house PA, which could charitably be described as a complete heap of shit: the sound was boxy and horribly feedback prone, and the supplied mic stand had to be stopped from spinning uncontrollably through the judicious application of blu-tak and masking tape! (In fact, someone had to go home and get another mic stand because the bar only supplied one: it was an act of great selflessness to come back, rather than pretending to have been taken suddenly ill.)
So how did The Jim Jims respond to the situation? They stood up (about three feet away from their audience, who were backed up against the wall to let smokers go to and from the garden), and did what they do, with their customary good humour and mellow, happy vibes. They play a mixture of bossa, chanson, standards and originals, singing in French and English, with a light but firm groove and sweet harmony. High points for me were ‘Fly Me To The Moon’, and a swinging original in waltz time, titled ‘In The Middle Of The Sea’, but the material was outstanding throughout. Beccy sings with a lovely, smooth timbre and nuanced phrasing, while Vince’s guitar work is a model of restrained, tasteful melodicism, and I enjoyed every minute (even when the ignorant wanker at the bar was trying to steal the show with some shit he was playing on his phone). A very enjoyable and entertaining night out.

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