Live Review : Jizzy Pearl + B4Time + Wasted Fate @ The Tivoli, Buckley on March 23rd 2019

This is starting to feel like déjà vu, or possibly a second home. Here I am back in Buckley again as the Tivoli is really upping its game in the live music venue stakes at the moment. It’s definitely worth a visit, it’s a cracking venue with a decent stage, well-stocked if slightly expensive bar and good acoustics.

Well, usually good acoustics. Unfortunately tonight’s opening band Wasted Fate were plagued by a sound that was muddied and muffled. I could see two guitars but hear them? Nope, wasn’t really happening. It was a shame, as a little later in the set it did improve a bit, but not enough to leave me with a lasting good impression of them. The sound was heavy blues and what I might describe as driving rock. To their credit they did play original songs (apart from a cover from up-and-coming Midlands band Stone Broken) but on tonight’s showing they weren’t really for me. I’m prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt and blame the bad sound for most of their set though, so hopefully I’ll catch them again soon and they will be able to change my mind!

Second band B4Time were a totally different kettle of fish. Their sound was crystal clear, and they started by blasting out a cover of Metallica’s ‘Sad But True’. OK, I’m listening….. and what I heard was a very competent covers band. The band are mostly older guys (apart from a Token Female drummer who I suspect may well be a daughter) and obviously have years of experience of playing under their collective belts. They were tighter than an unopened jar of pickled onions, and ripped through a good variety of songs. The choice was fairly eclectic, covering artists as diverse as Joe Walsh, Jimmy Eat World and The Wildhearts, which made a nice change from the usual ‘Smoke On The Water’ or ‘Paranoid. Now I know some people have differing opinions about covers bands, and whether they should be “allowed” to play at “proper” gigs when there are so many decent unsigned original bands fighting for recognition and a chance to play. My response is – why not? If they can get a crowd going by playing songs that they recognise, and playing them well, then I think there is definitely a place for them up there on that stage and I have no problem with them taking it.

Jizzy Pearl however leaves you in no doubt about who owns the stage tonight. It’s his stage, from the first bars of ‘Spinning Wheel’ to the last dying notes of ‘Blackout In The Red Room’. His backing band of Stevie Pearce (guitar) Christian Kimmett (bass) and Mickey Richards (drums) are playing their hearts out but tonight all eyes are on Jizzy. Little confession here, when he first popped up in the early 1990s with Love/Hate, I wasn’t keen on Jizzy. However, I’ve seen him several times in the intervening years and I have to admit I was wrong. This man is a born entertainer. Yes he doesn’t necessarily have the best voice in rock but that doesn’t matter – he has a great voice for the songs he writes and sings and he’s a fantastic frontman.

We start with ‘Spinning Wheel and ‘The Boozer, and the crowd respond enthusiastically to both. The whole room is literally bouncing, this is one of the most energy-filled gigs I have attended for quite a while. By the third song in, ‘Tumbleweed, Jizzy is down in the pit communing with his people. By the time we get past ‘Yucca Man’ and ‘Spit’ and into ‘Fuel To Run’ the crowd are singing for him, and Jizzy is as much conductor as singer himself. More great songs follow, Cream’, ‘Tranquillizer, ‘Mary Jane’, ‘Straightjacket’, and the evergreen favourite ‘Don’t Fuck With Me. All the while the band play on, and Jizzy is a whirling dervish of energy and laughter. ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’, ‘She’s An Angel’ with its growling bass intro and ‘Evil Twin bring the main set to a close and the band leave the stage to massive cheering and clapping.

Of course that’s not the end, and back they come to finish on a high with a kind of greatest hits trio. ‘Wasted in America’ features some of the best of Stevie’s guitar playing, and gives way to the funky bass sound of ‘Why Do You Think They Call It Dope?’ and more singing along from the crowd and then finally it’s ‘Blackout In The Red Room’, 30 years old this year and still as fresh-sounding as the day it was written. An evening in the company of Jizzy and his band is a breathtaking party and long may he continue to bring it to his people.

Words and photography by Jo Crosby