The Jar Family at The Elgin
With their new album, Jarmalade, soon to be released in stores, The Jar Family played a short preview for a launch event at The Elgin in Notting Hill.
The band from Hartlepool, North East England, have had a unique rise to fame, comprised of five singer-songwriters who were in and out of unemployment and homelessness before collaborating together as The Jar Family. The band name itself is derived from their live shows: a jar would be handed around the audience to collect money for the impoverished band, the lion’s share going to the member who needed it most.
Nowadays they play at festivals up and down the country, but they have not lost their connection with their humble roots. Their show at The Elgin saw a constant turntable of musicians, with no one member holding the spotlight – each of the five original singer-songwriters had their moment at the front microphone. If democracy could ever be done at a gig, this was how to do it.
“We each have our own input in the music,” singer and guitarist, Dali told The Upcoming. “We try to keep it equal. What we [create] in the end is for the good of the band.”
Despite all the changing of places, the set synchronised seamlessly; drums, harmonica, guitar, hand-shakers and tambourines fused together well, proving that they have really established themselves as live musicians. A number of songs stood out, especially the gritty vocals of Moyamoya, about two dead goldfish.
The band’s main hit and the most crowd-pleasing number was the fast-paced, catchy Machine. The song saw the youngest member, Max Bianco (a Noel Gallagher lookalike, complete with straw hat and festival parker) take to the stage. An industrial guitar background accompanied Bianco’s Brit-pop-inspired wails, reminiscent of a young Pete Doherty circa The Libertines era.
While Bianco’s voice stands out from the band, other members’ onstage antics and dress sense equally diverted the audience. Dressed in a black waistcoat tied together with white string (“because the buttons had fallen off” he told The Upcoming afterwards) and topped by a bowler hat with a pair of vintage goggles sewn on the top, guitarist Dali brings a little humour and showmanship to the band. Along with Richie Docherty dressed in Victorian gentry style, the two worked the stage and helped create one truly entertaining live show.
Photos: Luna Ingrassia
For further information and future events visit The Jar Family’s website here.
Watch the video for Machine here: