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Motorpoint Arena

LIVE: Just James, Yunioshi and Esther Van Leuvan

18 February 13 words: Harry Wilding
Farmyard Records hosted another fine night of local talent at the Jam Cafe

JamCafe – with a new structural development every time I visit; most recently, a new bar – along with Farmyard Presents delivered on the Friday night musical front once again, with the tantalising line-up of Esther Van Leuven, Yunioshi, and Just James.

Kicking off the night’s music was Esther Van Leuven - a beautifully voiced singer accompanied by acoustic guitarist Frazer Lowrie. They gave us six melodic songs, including a rendition of Gyptian’s Wine Slow, certainly showing potential for the near future. She was later described by Rob Yunioshi as such; “Esther. Fucking hell. Pretty voice earlier,” so one finds it hard to review her performance in a better or slicker fashion.

In a surprisingly quick turnaround, which gave me just enough time to grab another pint, Yunioshi were up. With the disclaimer that they usually make the audience some food but were too ill this week, they handed out animal biscuits – an interesting, though certainly not unwelcome, accompaniment to a glass of fine white ale and live electro rock.

Maybe the hangover of these illnesses was the reason it was a calmer set than they normally present, with three quarters of the band sitting down for the duration. That’s not to say that they weren’t sublime, as always. They treated us all to seven songs, including the lovely title track from their latest EP, Reykjavik, that is reminiscent of The Kills but in electro mode. Tanlines was a calm Hot Chip-esque dance tune, and they finished their set with Invisible’s funky undertones, and the How To Survive A Robot Uprising EP track CTRL.

Headliners Just James – self proclaimed science fiction rock and roll – are a multi genre band with an energy to match CERN’s Hadron Collider. Contrary to their name, the bassist James is not the only member; in addition to him are guitarist Ben, drummer Joseph, keyboardist Jake, and duel vocalists Alex and Ella.

Alex lives up to his nickname, Motormouf, rapping with terrific speed, animated facial expressions, and enthusiasm; while Ella’s more traditional, but no less pleasing, vocals offset this style nicely and are sung with similar credentials.

When they played their debut single Red Light Means Go, released last year, the vocalists came jumping into the audience to initiate a mini-moshpit. Although this was hugely entertaining, they did have a more chilled mid-point in the proceedings with a couple of new lower key tracks, revealing yet another face to the already many faceted multi-headed harmonious beast that is Just James – also still Just a young band.

With all the live acts having done their thing, Elementz DJs took control of the decks – a first for these guys at JamCafe. Judging by the crowd’s reaction to their tunes, I doubt it will be the last. So a fantastic evening of music, all round, then. For all those who witnessed it, all say “Ahhhhhh, bless ya” in a patronising tone to those who missed it.

Just James, Yunioshi and Esther played at JamCafe on Friday 15 February 2013.

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