Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes UK tour 2019


Ok, a couple of little stories for ya from Shepherd’s Bush Empire. First one’s from 2010.

Backstage at a Jukes soundcheck, I was loitering waiting for Southside Johnny to arrive for an interview and trying pretty unsuccessfully to pretend I wasn’t nervous. I mean why would I be, this guy had only been a hero of mine for over thirty years and this was my first interview with him. Think about something else, listen to what’s happening down on the stage at the end of the soundcheck. So I did and it was unusual; it was Jeff Kazee singing something I had never heard at a Jukes show. Jeff had missed the European mainland leg of the tour because of a family bereavement and was doing his first gig in London. Fast forward about four hours and that little bit of distraction comes back to hit me like a sledgehammer as Jeff lets out his feelings in the most public way with a heart-rending, tear-jerking version of “Many Rivers to Cross”. If you wanted a definition of catharsis, this was it; it would have melted a heart of stone. Did I cry? And then some, and I wasn’t on my own. It was the most moving thing I’ve ever experienced at a gig, and that’s a lot of gigs.

Skip forward just a year to October 21 2011. The Reverend Harold Camping had predicted (for the second time) that the world would end on that day. On stage at the Empire, it was beginning to look like he might be right. From the start of the set, there were complaints from the band about the monitor mix and just as the crew got that sorted out, another gremlin raised its head in the shape of Glenn Alexander’s guitar amp; it wasn’t amplifying. You’re on stage, the set’s just catching fire and suddenly your equipment blindsides you. Take losing your wi-fi for an hour and multiply it by a hundred; you’re getting close to the level of frustration on stage left that night. Long story short, it took three amps before the glitch was solved; the only problem now was to get the gig back on track, so what would the mainman do. The mainman called a Sonny Boy Williamson tune, “Help Me”, throwing the spotlight back at Glenn to harness his frustration and kickstart the show; which it did, with a vengeance. That’s a great band and bandleader in action right there.

And, honestly, it’s not for everyone. If your thing is a setlist that’s been rehearsed to within an inch of its life, absolutely note-perfect and with a synched lighting plot (and I’m honestly not knocking that) this isn’t the gig for you. However, if you want a set that’s unpredictable, packed with powerful vocal and instrumental performances and great tunes, this definitely is for you. And I haven’t even mentioned my favourite combination yet. Cheese and onion, sweet and sour, trouble and strife don’t even come close – it’s horns and Hammond, Hammond and horns (see, it’s even alliterative). The recipe’s pretty simple; get seven of the best live musicians you can find, make sure they know all of (ok, most of) the songs and give them plenty of opportunities to express themselves. When those guys are Jeff Kazee (keys), Glenn Alexander (guitar), John Conte (bass), Tom Seguso (drums), John Isley (sax), Chris Anderson (trumpet) and Neal Pawley (trombone) each performance will be special and different. Now, that I will go see and hear any time.

So why am I telling you all of this now? Easy, there’s a couple of those increasingly rare opportunities to see Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes in the UK on a mini tour in March 2019. The band’s playing Glasgow (St Luke’s) on March 19th, London (Shepherd’s Bush Empire) on March 22nd and Holmfirth (Picturedrome) on March 23rd and 24th. Why two gigs at The Picturedrome? Because the first one sold out – obviously the North of England knows about good music. These UK gigs are precious because it ain’t cheap to bring an eight-piece across the Atlantic and you never know how long it is until the next tour.

So get yourself some tickets for one of the remaining shows and treat yourself to one of the best live bands in the business. What will they play? I don’t know and, most likely they don’t know, but it will be special and it won’t be anything like the set they played the previous night. See you at The Bush.



7 Responses to “Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes UK tour 2019”
  1. Marion Murray says:

    Beautifully written catching all the nuances of the band. Luv the Jukes, grew up with them at the Jersey Shore. Saw them in Orlando last year…they are so tight. Don’t miss them.

  2. Gary Russell says:

    Joe Prinz can you give me call when you are in the UK

  3. Mike king says:

    Great article which sums up the best bar band in the world. The first time they played holmefirth they opened with the theme from last of the summer wine, requests are met by abuse from Southside but then he’ll recall a song from 1976 and hum the opening bars and the band join in. That’s what you get when you have world class musicians playing for the fun of it. Get a ticket, take your brain out and have a great rock, roll and soul party

  4. Glenn Alexander says:

    Allan, may post something about your calendar, and my making the front cover, on facebook. I am honored my friend. Best, Glenn Alexander

  5. Anne Cole says:

    Just home from seeing Southside and the Jukes from their 1st gig at Picturedrome- what can I say? Phenomenal doesn’t cover it! Just amazing, the band was tight, Southside on top form & every band member contributed with their own pzazz. The best they’ve been (when I’ve seen them) in the last 10 years and having followed Southside since the seventies when the guys all wore white suits, all I can say is “thanks guys” for an absolutely memorable gig. I’m still buzzing & can’t wait for next time.

  6. Rob Haslam says:

    I attended the second Picturedrome gig, advertised as a completely different set to night one. As soon as John took the stage he said: ‘Forget that shit. You’re gonna hear every song you came to hear.’ And boy did they deliver. Hadn’t seen him in about ten years and thought this was the tightest line up of Jukes yet. Was surprised at the gruffness of his voice on the new album, but live he sounded the same as ever. Great show. It is to his credit that he brings the full band to the UK as often as he has over the years.

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