While listening to the album working towards my review (read on here: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.nl/2018/05/skeletons-jellephant.html) I couldn't get my mind around what band the opening song reminded me of. Listening in the train to Amsterdam I knew it at the second note: The Dandy Warhols. Funny how thing can go. Mystery solved.
Arriving, I soon had the idea that I was attending a high school party, 40 years late. "Ah, there come the parents", I thought. Now Jellephant is from Arnhem, so the kids and parents must have come for Poncho. It wasn't hard picking out some of the members, the way they welcomed or were approached by all their friends. It was apparent Jellephant was not playing a home gig.
I simply have to own up that it is not easy to write something positive on Jellephant and the Phantoms. On the show and presentation that is. Not that they cannot play, not that they do not have the songs, not that they were playing badly. There's no beating around the bush on these pages. Jelle, you are the front man. You are Jellephant. So it does not do to put someone else in your place on stage. It does not do to stand in the dark for most of the time. It may feel safe, but it doesn't help the show, the feel and the conviction a band needs to take on nor to establish interaction with an audience. Especially one that is not yours in the first place and needs to be conquered, skin and bones. Neither does a microphone drenched in bathroom vibes, making it nearly impossible to understand what you are saying when you do address us. A second mike would help here.
Musically all was alright. I can still call up some of the licks I heard, in my mind easily. The three guitarists all played different parts on different ends of the guitar neck, creating a wealth of sound together. There was so much detail in the layered music Jellephant created this way. The music is fun, so much more so than what followed.
Musically, I heard disco rhythms mixed with psychedelic sounds, punkrock creating moshpits at the end of the show, attempts at balladry sort of Indian Askin style and what not. It wasn't my kind of thing, yet it was a show. A show the audience really dug and the energy bounced right back and back again.
The shoegazing elements in Jellephant's music do not lend itself for such jollity, yet just a few small elements, now missing, could spark its show as well. There is something to learn here. From the basement to a stage is a giant leap at this point in time. You have the music, so use it to your advantage. A wave, a smile, a nod and "hello, how are you?", in light, may go a long way for starters. "For you, me, everybody, everybody", to quote the über showmeisters The Blues Brothers.
You can listen to and buy Jellephant's albums here:
Here's the link to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about: