What a belting show at the O2 Academy 2 last night. Jawbone were simply superb.

The band hail from North London and the main men, Marcus Bonfanti & Paddy Milner, have been stalwarts of the North London Blues scene for a good few years as well as forming a not inconsiderable core of the Boom Band – a pickup band who get together a few times a year and have been a fixture in the Xmas lists at the Half Moon in Putney for three or four years,
The other two members of Jawbone are Rex Horan (bass & vocals) and drummer Evan Jenkins.
Bonfanti’s vocals match perfectly with Milners and their harmonies are pretty well seamless and Horan adds a surprisingly effective falsetto to Bonfanti’s much harder edged baritone – the combinations allow the band a huge range of styles and forms.

Their set last night was about as much as fun as I’ve had this year at a gig. The band combine Blues, swing and a brilliant sense of rhythm and from the very start of their set they had the enthusiastic crowd dancing and clapping along with material from their upcoming album as well as a few stone classics.

Of the new numbers ‘Leave No Traces’ has a rollicking rhythm underpinned by Milner’s Hammond while ‘When Your Gun Is Loaded’ takes on a touch of The Band in the sound with Bonfanti in the lead and some delightful piano from Milner. ‘Sit Around the Table’ was written about the scene in the house in Golders Green where Bonfanti & Milner met and shows that the band can do ballads as well as the more funky numbers.

For me, the absolute highpoint was a sublime version of Little Feat’s ‘Willin’ ‘ followed by a great shot at The Band’s ‘Rag Mama Rag’ both of which had the crowd singing along with the band.

The real feature last night was just how close the four band members are – this is a bunch of mates enjoying their music and stretching each other just to see how well they can make the music sound. Lots of smiles and plenty of space for all four of the band to make themselves heard.

Something special for a cold midweek and a great band – loved every minute.

Photo by Al Stuart