Rock music is a much varied genre, at times almost tribal. How many of us make decisions about what we will like based upon the words of one or two journalists or some PR hyperbole? Well, I will freely admit that I have but now I wonder how many magical experiences I might have missed.
This was Jordan Reyne’s second visit to The Railway and, pleasingly, word had clearly got around about the evening of delights that lay ahead – a much larger crowd had assembles to witness the recording of a live DVD. With a sound that has been described as the soundtrack to steampunk, her blend of industrial-tinged dark folk is a meeting of genres best imagined as a cross between Dead Can Dance, Nine Inch Nails, and Alanis Morisette. Her unusual approach to music pairs the rhythms of steam-based technology and machinery with folk instruments and vocal styles, crossing technology with history to tell the dark stories of characters real and imagined.
What the uninitiated might find as the biggest surprise is that the show is simply Jordan, a guitar, a couple of effects loops and some machine samples. Accompanying herself with looped percussion (from hitting the front or sides of the guitar), adding in some backing vocals and rhythmic guitar backing – each track weaves a magical mood. The songs from her latest album album, “Children of a Factory Nation”, are a collection of folkloric tales based on the lives of real people: a working class Welsh family living in England at a time when peoples lives were being torn apart by new machines. But not all songs are historical and about themes as dark as death – other inspirations reveal themselves in “The Washing Machine Song” and “P*** Off I’m Drinking”. Even more startling is the way even the song arrangements seem to create contradictions – the aforementioned “….I’m Drinking” suggested a much more raucous song than the one that appeared. A very effective light show and a lovely “club” setting (tables and chairs set out in front of the stage) created the perfect atmosphere for the full impact of the songs to hit.
The most incredible thing was talking to members of the audience before and then after the show. Seeing people change from “This will definately not be my thing” to “Amazing! Incredible!” and seeing them become enchanted. That said there were plenty of existing Jordan Reyne fans in the audience. Some who had been present on other dates of the tour, others who have “attended” Jordan’s regular shows in the virtual reality that is “Second Life”. Now, this is not something I am au fait with, however I do understand that there is quite an online following – perhaps “Second Life” could be the future for bands needing to get their music to a wider audience quickly (or maybe this is happening already and I am totally unaware of it).
Back in the real world of Bolton, Jordan Reyne proved, once again, that rock music is actually a state of mind. The styles vary but quality songs are quality songs – especially when performed so brilliantly. If you see Jordan coming to a venue near you do not make the “it’s not for me” mistake – it is, she is and the songs will certainly touch your soul.
For further information see: www.jordanreyne.com
Written by David Wilson