review archive

Joy Zipper / Lucky Jim - 100 Club 13 May 2004

I’ve heard good things about Lucky Jim so I have a look at their web site. It includes a great photo of them crouching up a tree, barely visible, plus some tunes that are okay in a pleasant country-tinged rock kind of way. Doesn’t really rock my socks though. Maybe they’re better live. Let’s see…hmm, Charlie of off ‘Corrie’ seems to be their singer. Interesting. There’s a lot of manly guitar strumming of solid but not sparking songs. This could all get a bit Ocean Colour Scene if we’re not careful (only inna country stylee, not ‘mod’ or whatever OCS were meant to be). Umm…sorry not really getting this…then ‘Charlie’ sings (I swear) ‘I’m riding with my lady…’ Aieeee! Wha?? Christ On A Bike. I go and ensconce myself in front of the merchie stall, spending a happy ten minutes choosing from Joy Zipper’s mind-boggling selection of tee-shirt colours.

And so to Joy Zipper. I’ve been looking forward to this gig SO MUCH, ‘The Stereo & God’ and ‘American Whip’ have been comforting cotton wool worlds for my ears to nestle in on the bus to work for the last few months. (Incidentally, how come Americans ‘ride the bus’ where as we ‘catch the bus’? Maybe you can only truly ‘catch the bus’ if it involves hurling yourself onto the back of a speeding Routemaster whilst the conductor yells, ‘Run faster! Very good running!’ like what happens here.).
You're th one,one,one,one,one,one,one Joy Zipper clamber aboard the 100 Club’s long skinny stage to the groggy strains of ‘Sunstroke’. There’s no sign of Vinnie. Tabitha calls him over the mic…the intro music starts up again…and again…and he eventually emerges seemingly quite ‘refreshed’, although maybe it’s just goofy Yank charm or something.Vinnie looks like someone drew a diagram of the epitome of indie bloke shaggy gloriousness: here’s the mop designed to invite ‘get a haircut!’ shouts from beerboys, here we’ll sketch in the requisite cheekbones onto the pasty face, add a dusty velvet jacket, cord jeans and scuffed black trainers, voila!
Tabitha looks like a doll, tiny, with shades clamped on top of long blonde hair, and a red t-shirt dress with a picture of a panda worn over jeans. They’re the perfect yin and yang/light and dark couple. Or at least that’s the illusion they’re creating. When Vinnie mutters that he’s having the best night of his life, Tabitha assures us that, ’He doesn’t say that lightly.’ Vinnie makes us applaud the splendid Tabithaness of Tabitha whilst she blushes.
We get a sundazzled set mixing first and second album songs starting with the Spacewoman drone of ‘Out Of The Sun’. Everything’s unhurried, adding to the sensation of blissed out sunkissedness. Basking in the glow of the delectably languorous ‘Christmas Song’ I feel like a blob of ice-cream melting in the sun, ‘I love you more than a thousand Christmases…’
On record Joy Zipper summon up the benign spirit of all the My Bloody Valentine records on my shelf, but live the similarities fall away, only ‘Baby You Should Know’ comes shimmeringly close. Where MBV gorgeously bludgeoned, Joy Zipper caress. Theirs is a cool and lovely woozepop that on ‘33x’ asks you to waltz barefoot on the lawn.
Panda Pop
Dazepop Android

So the songs are things of drowsy splendour. The band (Vinnie and Tabitha augmented by drummer and bassplayer) judging by the skinny white wires snaking out of their ears are perfectly formed dazepop androids. What’s the catch? It’s not often you’ll catch me saying this, but this sticky floored underground venue isn’t working. The music needs a larger space to stretch out in, room to blast and swirl and fill up every inch of your consciousness. It needs to leave you shaken not just stirred.

Time runs out on the band, after they’ve frittered precious minutes discussing whether they still have enough time to play ‘One’ and ‘Baby You Should Know’ (they make the time anyway) they hit their curfew without getting to do the planned encore of ‘Two Dreams I Had.’

The fans demand satisfaction and eventually, after much arsing about which drives the man from the 100 Club to snap, ‘Tell them to bloody get on with it then or I will pull the plug’, Vinnie reappears to knock out a lulling acoustic version of ‘Valley Stream’. Tabitha joins him pointing the mic into the crowd to initiate a looong singalong coda of ‘You’re the sun / I’m the moon.’ We tiptoe away up the stairs leaving them to their addled mantra. They might still be down there singing.
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