Jupe @Upstairs at the Garage 01/07/15

4 stars (out of 5)

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Review TitleIt’s the hottest July day in recorded history and I’ve chosen to spend ninety minutes on public transport to get to Islington to watch new bands play in a room that’s blacker than a politician’s heart; it could get warm. Thankfully, Upstairs at the Garage is air-conditioned. I’ve been invited along to see Jupe, a group of guys from Dublin, but I’m looking forward to watching all of the bands because it’s always (okay, usually) good to see and hear new bands.

So, a little bit about Jupe then. Well they’re from Dublin and after nine years, their line-up has stabilised at Tim Night (vocal and occasional guitar), Brendon Rennie (drums), Jeff O’Callaghan (keyboards), Kevin Rowe (guitar) and Voodoo Jonesy (bass). Musically they fuse together three strands of popular music to create something powerful and unique. There’s the impassioned, earnest rock (start with The Script and work your way back to U2), dance bass and keyboard sounds and a bit of pure boy band melodic pop. The sound they create is huge and they know how to write a massive, infectious chorus; they’re seriously good musicians writing and playing classy pop tunes and their onstage enthusiasm is totally contagious. They even had followers of the other bands on the bill bouncing up and down, and that doesn’t happen too often at showcase gigs.

And it wasn’t just Jupe that caught the attention. LUME, kicked the evening off with a power-trio set that was listenable and watchable; Henry Mata (guitar/vocal), Alex Holmes (bass/vocals) and Nelson Baia (drums/vocals) have some great songs which move from alternative towards prog territory; there’s probably even a hint of Muse in there as well. I’d certainly go and see them again.

Paper Circus are from East London and had the unenviable task of following a storming set from Jupe, but Alan Shaller (guitar/vocals), Kevin Curran (drums), Sara Shevlin (guitar) and Mickael Blanchet (bass) were up to the challenge with a bit of help from their faithful following. The musical styling was indie/alternative with strong songs and a powerful live performance; this is another band that I’ll be watching out for in future. Top night.

The new Jupe single “Rocket” is out on August 3.