Tonight at the ABC in Glasgow’s smaller venue, we were treated to a great show that almost didn’t happen. For reasons which make no sense to anyone, when Jaret announced the dates for his Heartbreak and Hilarity tour, there wasn’t one listed for Glasgow. Cue much shouting (including from ourselves) and a date quickly added. Damn right.
With the addition of the lovely Lounge Kittens to the bill, this show went from being a “must attend” to a “must attend with an excellent opening act” and the queue out the front before the doors open said that we weren’t the only ones keen to see the talented trio’s opening salvo.
We were not to be disappointed. Dressed in hologrammy/sparkly top things and their trademark poster paint hair, the ladies played for almost an hour. Material from their successful Sequins and C-Bombs album was present, as were some older numbers and two new ones. I won’t spoil the surprise on the new material, but the whole set went down a storm.
From what I could tell, the majority of the crowd was in the building by the time the Kittens hit the stage and during the first song I was a little worried that they were maybe just here early to get a good spot for Jaret. Thing is, the Lounge Kittens music doesn’t really encourage wild dancing (barring a couple of massive fans in front of us) so it was hard to judge the crowd reaction until that first song was over. Concerns were buried by an enormous cheer, much applause and not a few whistles.
This reaction just got louder and stronger as the set progressed. Medleys, full tracks and the girls’ trademark humour made their 50 minutes or so pass very quickly. The highlight for me was the closing notes of “Love in an Elevator”. The harmonies were staggering – like listening to the original album.
I’ve caught The Lounge Kittens a few times, and this was definitely the best set I’ve seen them play. Ross went as far as to say he thought it was better than their show at Download this past summer. Either way, if you’re heading to a later date on the tour, get there early enough to see them. They’re a superb warm-up act for Jaret.
The main man himself was on stage shortly after nine, with a book containing 35 songs to choose from. In the end, we got fifteen as well as some great chatter from Jaret himself. This wasn’t always a laugh a minute – as the title of the tour suggests, he’s laying himself bare and some of the stories behind the songs are quite personal and oftentimes sad. That didn’t make the talking parts any less worthwhile. If anything it made them far more engaging.
This definitely isn’t a tour for those expecting the hits, as with the older acoustic tours. One look at the setlist will show up a bunch of tracks that just don’t usually get played live – acoustically or otherwise. “Val Kilmer” doesn’t get too many outings, nor “Smoothie King” or “Star Song”. Hearing the story behind the likes of “Goodbye Friend” really added a lot more meaning to the lyrics and appreciation for the fact that for years now, Jaret has been using his music almost as a means of therapy.
Over the last few years, he’s been suffering from anxiety and depression and – like other famous people – has been quite open about it in a bid to make people realise that mental illness really is a “thing” and needs to be talked about. He did this tonight, without dwelling on it too much, and the only audience question he answered was focused on depression: if you’re the partner of someone who suffers from depression, how can you help them?
His answer – listen to them, but don’t pretend to understand as you can’t, not unless you’ve been there yourself. Encourage them to talk to you, to a professional and to seek medical help. The fact that this advice drew one of the largest applauses of the night says a lot – I hope – about how people are realising that depression is a serious issue now, and that these things need to be said, and to as many people as possible.
With the downs, there are also ups. The tales behind the Phineas and Ferb theme (Steel Panther have a lot to answer for), the lucky friend who features in “Graduation Trip” and the way the band got away without insulting anyone (kinda) with “The Bitch Song” raise the smiles.
We got around 90 minutes of Jaret’s outpourings and I for one could have listened to all 35 songs as well as the ramblings around them. And, yes, I know that would have meant a four-hour show.
There are still plenty of dates on the tour, including Leeds this evening. Most shows have at least a handful of tickets left (I think Bristol may be sold out, though) and I definitely, heartily recommend going. If you’re a BFS fan, this is one show you shouldn’t miss as it’s just so damn different to anything else any of the band have done before.
- Thursday 14th – Leeds – Key Club
- Friday 15th – Brighton – Concorde
- Saturday 16th – Bristol – Thekla
- Sunday 17th – Nottingham – Rescue Rooms
- Monday 18th – Wolverhampton – Slade Rooms
- Tuesday 19th – Newcastle – Riverside
- Wednesday 20th – Manchester – Gorilla
- Thursday 21st – London – Islington Assembly Hall