June 6th, Jadis at the Boerderij in Zoetermeer.

How to start a review of a concert from one of the bands that helped shaping my definitive musical taste in the eighties? I guess by sharing a bit about my thoughts about the British prog band Jadis with guitarist and vocalist Gary Chandler at the helm. With the rise of neo-prog in the early eighties, Jadis was one of the fixtures for me alongside Marillion, Pendragon, Pallas and IQ. Their music was perhaps a bit less complicated and a bit more focused on pointed songs with head and tail, but Chandler's fantastic and very own style of guitar playing was, and is, a feast for the prog ear.

The first albums, More than meets the Eye and Across the Water were all of a high level and especially in the line-up with Martin Orford, John Jowitt and Steve Christey they were a tight band. As time went on, there were some personnel changes and to be honest, this didn't always result in consistent quality albums. I have them all on CD, but I notice that I am leaning strongly towards their earlier work. In their later albums like Photoplay, Fanatic, See right through you or No Fear of looking down they seem to choose for a more straigh forward rock approach.

Over the years, I've seen the band live eleven times. On the occasion of the new album More Questions than Answers, the band could finally be seen again in, how could it be otherwise, the Boerderij. Together with a good friend I decided to take a trip down memory lane and experience my twelfth Jadis concert and of course purchase the new CD. ( go and buy it!)

After a smooth road trip we arrived at the Boerderij around eight o'clock and when we entered we saw Rob from Beyond Rock with his stall where we bought some CDs and then bought the new album at the merch stand. Upon entering the venue, it was noticeable how empty it was and a feeling of vicarious shame took hold of us. In the past, the band played to sold-out crowds, but the long radio silence and the lack of appealing new material has taken its toll. So undeservedly because this band deserves more. When asking the people of the Boerderij, it turned out that there were less than two hundred people, scandalous actually but perhaps a result of the choice for a weekday evening.

Supplemented by bassist Andy Marlow, the band with Martin Orford on keys and vocals, Steve Christey on drums and of course Gary Chandler on guitar and vocals could be admired in almost old glory. How nice to see and hear Martin live again. For me he is a key part in complementing Gary and beeing the foundation under the destinctive Jadis sound. 

Then to the performance.

During the first notes you could hear that Gary had to get going and with No Sacrifice the high notes really came from far. Fortunately, this was a run-up and the rest of the evening he was in fine voice and where Orford took on the second voice, it sounded  all too familiar again. A mix of old and new songs were played and Gary held everything together like an accomplished entertainer with a lot of humour. What charisma this man has. The new songs played sounded good and indicate that the quality of the new album is a big step in the right direction. (My review will come in a few weeks, I want to listen to the album more often first)

The audience showed that I am not the only one with a preference for the older work and the fragile More than meets the Eye was also received with a lot of applause.

Now it is known that I always write from my personal experience and that I don't take into account all kinds of other interests, both from bands and fans. That sometimes makes it difficult and that is also the case now. My point of view is that honesty is the best policy, and reviews that are always and solely for the purpose of glorifying artists are of no use to anyone. My sympathy for this band is great and I always wish them the best and I am happy that I have seen them live again but I would like to make a few comments about this performance. It was a bit sloppy and rusty here and there and it wasn't the tightest performance I've seen from them, but maybe that's to be expected after such a long break. It was also the first gig of the mini tour and that may also play a role. Where Jowitt is a real stage personality  and a very active and present bass player, Marlow stays much more in the background with less frivolous but very solid playing. Gary himself was very busy trying to find the right settings for his effect pedals, which sometimes resulted in several notes being lost. Christey is a very solid drummer did a great job again.

The sound was fine and an advantage of having fewer people in front of you is that you can see everything much better, especially if you are not too tall like me. (just like my friend Henk) Where others choose a place as far forward as possible, we often try to find a place where the sound is best and that is often around the PA installation.

All in all, and I'm not going to lie, we went home with mixed feelings. It was wonderful to see and hear Jadis live again, but there was also something left of the idea that we hadn't felt the magic of previous concerts. Still, it's fantastic that there is new music from Jadis and that they are still going strong despite all the hassle that every British band has to deal with after Brexit when visiting Europe. Thanks guys!