Review: Jared James Nichols – The Cathouse, Glasgow

Jared James Nichols plays with such enthusiasm and obvious joy in what he is doing, that it becomes infectious and spreads to everyone within a 5-mile radius of the massive smile on his face. Tonight, it’s the turn of Glasgow to fall for that smile, that all-round exuberance, and that feeling of great happiness. And no matter what people say, that can actually make a difference to a live audience: as good as they are, Seether are a tough act to encounter, purely because at times frontman Shaun Morgan looks like he simply does not want to be there. Jared James Nichols? The polar opposite and looks like he would play all night if allowed to.

The discovery of the evening, however, is opening act Silveroller. Aaron Keylock is a familiar name to many, and it is still incredibly hard to believe that the guitarist released his debut album ‘Cut Against The Grain’ for Provogue/Mascot Label Group some six years ago. And even more incredulous when you remember that you caught Aaron as a 16-year-old opening for Blackberry Smoke back in 2014. A veteran of the scene and still in his early twenties. But now, he has the band, and the vehicle to take some of the spotlight away from him and his considerable playing talents, and seems all the more happy for this. Preferring to stay stage left most of the set, he leaves centre stage to Silveroller vocalist Jonnie Hodson, or as he now prefers to be known as “The Rev. Jonnie Hodson” – gotta love those instant online ordination sites!

Boasting an unashamedly vintage 70’s sound and style, Silveroller will pique the interest of anyone for a hankering for some music in a similar style to Free, The Stones, and The Faces. Although it is a bit of a burden to place on a vocalist’s shoulders – especially a vocalist so young – Hodson does spark comparisons with Paul Rodgers. However, there are times during the short 30-minute set when Brian Connolly from The Sweet springs to mind. That same gravelly, rasping, wonderfully un-schooled vocal style that both Rodgers and Connolly made famous. Musically, Silveroller offers a great deal. Especially with the organ sound from Ross Munro – who as Hodson declares is “returning to his ancestral lands…” – fleshing out a lot of the material, and Munro even goes as far as breaking out a saxophone at one point. Aaron is content letting the music do all the talking but when he is called upon to highlight why he has been so highly regarded for so long, he does so effortlessly. Ending with their Classic Rock-endorsed debut single ‘Hold’ (available now on Golden Robot Records), Silveroller knocks it out of the park. The future is bright, and it is patchouli-scented.

How do you squeeze a 16-year career into a 45-minute supporting set in your first time in a city? With great difficulty, but for Dutch psychedelic Southern blues-rockers DeWolff, it’s all about doing the groundwork for their March 2024 debut UK headlining tour that was announced as soon as this stint with Jared ended. What is highly commendable about DeWolff’s set tonight is that they could have changed tact and maybe trimmed away the expansive nature of their material and went with a Queen-at-Live-Aid type of set, but instead, they play it the only way that they know how to – free and easy, with lots of humour in between.

Consisting of brothers Pablo & Luka van de Poel (guitars/vocals & drums, respectively) and Robin Piso (keys), DeWolff have taken their sweet time in making the choppy crossing over the sea from The Netherlands to the UK. And considering how prolific the trio are, and that they are signed to the prestigious Mascot Records, it’s a headscratcher that these 8 dates with Jared form their debut UK tour. A few seconds into their set opener – the wonderful ‘Night Train’ – and all is forgiven. With the lush organ sounds from Piso filling the room, and Pablo van de Poel perfectly playing the role of preacher, the intro to ‘Night Train’ makes the listener feel like they are part of the congregation in the coolest church in the world. And when the smiling van de Poel asks “Are you ready for some rock & roll?… I said, are you ready for the night train?”, his brother, and Piso join in with some Gospel choir-like backing vocalisation before Luka brings the band in with some top-notch precision drumming. A fantastic, blood-pumping introduction to DeWolff. What follows over the next 45 minutes or so is a masterclass in musicianship, but without the self-indulgence that can often make an audience feel like they are intruding. It helps that Pablo van de Poel is so likeable, especially when he is addressing the audience whilst supping from a beer. The old-school curly guitar lead is also a super cool touch. Songs are stretched out and given time to breathe, with the band never looking like they are in a hurry. The set highlight has to be the 15-minute plus that begins with the band “…taking it down a little…” with some blues noodling on ‘Will o’ The Wisp’ that pushes Piso’s organ-fills very much to the forefront and ends with the steady rhythmic drumming from Luka on a hypnotic version of ‘Tired of Loving You’. Incredible. Don’t miss these guys come March 2024.

Hotfooting it from a packed meet and greet in a guitar store a few minutes away (FREE meet and greet that should read), the larger-than-life Jared James Nichols takes to the stage with the sounds of ‘Urgent’ by Foreigner fading away into the darkness of The Cathouse. Seemingly a meet and greet like no other, Jared spent a great deal of time chatting to everyone and even jammed with some open-mouthed teenagers who got first-hand experience of Jared’s brand new Epiphone ‘Blues Power’ model. None of that thousand bucks Gene Simmons-behind-plexiglass shenanigans here, and judging by the footage on Insta, a great time was had by all. So, if he’s late to the stage and the choice of ‘Urgent’ is a bit of banter, then all is forgiven once he rips into opening track ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’ – a great mantra that sums up Jared perfectly. As does his new trademarked exclamation: “Blues Power Mother Fuckers!”

As you would expect, the recently released self-titled album plays a major part in the setlist, with 7 of the 12 tracks performed tonight coming from it. The opening twenty minutes or so is all new material, with 2020’s ‘Threw Me To The Wolves’ being the first trip down memory lane. Such is the quality (and variety) of the material culled from the self-titled album, that nobody cares if it’s new or not. They are too busy losing their shit every time Jared takes a step from the stage onto the barrier to get sweaty with those in the front few rows and let punters watch his pick-less style in bewilderment. A lot of players opt to go pick-less but what makes Jared particularly stand out is the speed that which he plays, and the weight behind his fingers (‘Down the Drain’ being a great example of both aspects of his playing). ‘Hard Wired’ showcases the lighter side of Jared’s playing, with a solo that begins light and tender, before taking a heavy turn as the trio (Louis Collins on bass/backing vocals, and Ryan Rice on drums) spread their wings and embark on a lengthy jam full of power. ‘Threw Me To The Wolves’ is another such moment that begins softer, and features a gradual growth in power. More than simply sidemen, both Rice and Collins play their parts well, with Collins often acting as a cheerleader as Jared solos, and Rice steals the show with his powerful drumming on the Clutch-like ‘Bad Roots’.

If ‘Bad Roots’ highlights a Clutch-like touch, then ‘Honey Forgive Me’ packs a bit of an Aerosmith-strut and again highlights the variety found within Jared’s music. Blues-rock might be the tag of choice, but that covers quite a bit of ground, and pigeonhole Nichols at your peril because just as you do, he throws in a few moments of the Allman Brothers Band classic ‘Jessica’ to keep you on your toes. As does the monstrous 9-minute version of ‘War Pigs’ that ends the show and highlights just how tight a unit this trio is. Although known more for his incredible playing – and rightly so – Jared’s vocals have grown in stature and confidence over the years, and the big man is so at ease behind the mic. Find out for yourself at one of the following tour dates (but bring some plugs, these guys play LOUD!):

Oct. 24 – Stockholm, Sweden
Oct. 25 – Göteborg, Sweden
Nov. 14- Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA
Nov. 15- Chicago, Illinois, USA
Nov. 16- Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Nov. 17- Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, USA
Nov. 19- McHenry, Illinois, USA
Nov. 20- Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Nov. 21- Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Nov. 22- Covington, Kentucky, USA
Nov. 24- Evansville, Indiana
Nov. 25- Detroit, Michigan, USA
Nov. 26- Lakewood, Ohio, USA
Nov. 28- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Nov. 29- Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Dec. 1- Teaneck, New Jersey, USA
Dec. 2- Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Dec. 4- New York, New York, USA
Dec. 5- Sellersville, Pennsylvania, USA
Dec. 6- Richmond, Virginia, USA
Jan. 23- Sacramento, CA, USA
Jan. 24- San Francisco, CA, USA
Jan. 26- Santa Ana, CA, USA
Jan. 27- Los Angeles, CA, USA
Jan. 28- San Diego, CA, USA
Jan. 30- Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Jan. 31- Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Feb. 1- Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Feb. 3- Dallas, Texas, USA
Feb. 4- Austin, Texas, USA
Feb. 6- Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Feb. 7- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
Feb. 8- San Antonio, Texas, USA
Feb. 9- Houston, Texas, USA
Feb. 10- New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Ticket info, here

All live images – Dave Jamieson

 

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