Villanovas-Jack Grace – review

I billed this one as a pre-christmas treat and I wasn’t to be disappointed.

In what would turn out to be my last gig of the year, the four acts on an impressive bill would prove to be a wonderful end to a busy 12 months.

There are some that may criticise Mr Kyps for its seemingly endless diet of tribute acts but I am not one of they. Truth be told tributes bring in the punters and venues need to pay the rent. What this does in turn is allow a place to host an evening of some of the best local bands and this night fell very squarely into that category.

Standing outside chatting with Jack Grace and his dad meant that I missed the kick off for the first act Cormac Joseph Nagle but we zipped in to catch Cormac in full flow with an impressive folksy set which set the tone for the evening.

Drawing a line between Bob Dylan and Jake Bugg probably takes you somewhere near Nagles' music with the kind of folksy american accented sound infusing his work.I thought it was pretty good and was prepared to say so until Jack mentioned later that Cormac is in fact seventeen. I'm not one for making allowances for people's age, after all you're either good or your not right?

So with that in mind I'm bound to add that at only seventeen Cormac shows a level of maturity beyond his years and it looks like an exciting path he's on. One to watch.

Next up one of my favourite locals, Jawbone.

On their game Jawbone give out a raw, loud rock vibe with influences of punk and they were certainly on their game. If the British are renowned for liking their musicians to put in a bit of effort then no-one could be disappointed with Jawbones' workrate! Energy and intensity coupled with no little amount of quality sounds combined to give us a set to nod and air guitar/drum to. Sadly the photographer wasn't on his game because the photos  of the guys were crap. Soz about that.

Planned to play as a five piece, Jack Grace and his band were a guitarist down but it didn't seem to matter. As a long time admirer of Graces' work I prefer to see him fronting a band and this latest iteration, with Philip John on Bass and Connor Fox wielding sticks the band looks like a very interesting evolution. The addition of Joe Smith on keys/synth/pedal steel also adds a different dimension from your usual three-guitars-and-a-drummer line up that we tend to see regularly and this can only be good for music that is in itself different.

If emotion was groceries then 'Remember Me' is like a Tesco shoppers' bag for life the day before a religious holiday. I don't know what or who it's about but I hate them I do. If you don't believe it then watch the video.

Indie chops are fully in use with '406' and the band begins to stretch its musical legs a bit. The setlist proves that Jack Graces' music deserves to be properly listened to.

Ending up with 'Self Destruction', a song featuring sweeping guitar riffs and a mellow head bobbing beat this again features much emotional content and the set is well received by what is an impressively large crowd. If they aren't fans already then they will be now.

Next up the ever amazing Villanovas. Having seen them deservedly win the Larmer Tree breakthrough awards and experienced the band at a couple of their gigs and the Larmer Tree itself I can say that I've not yet seen a bad set from the guys.

I've described them before as an early Stones with a rock/blues sound and it's a heady yet fair comparison.

On the night it's clear they are developing and their stagecraft is evolving as they engage with the audience. We're treated to a fine display from a superb young band.

What's great about the evening is that all of the bands on the bill have stayed around to watch the other play, something that is often sadly lacking. 

The Villanovas go through their originals with aplomb and treat us to a graunchy 'How does it feel' to further enhance their rock credentials. The Villanovas look like becoming one of the breakthrough acts of 2016 and a successful festival season will no doubt propel them onwards and upwards.

Overall a terrific night and one that goes down as a favourite of 2015.



Cormac Joseph Nagle at Mr Kyps
Jawbone at Mr Kyps
Jack Grace at Mr Kyps
The Villanovas at Mr Kyps
The Villanovas at Mr Kyps

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