I first heard Jack Ladder a few years ago. They were the first act on night headlined by Wolfmother, but also featuring Yves Klein Blue. Although going in I knew very little about the band, I was captivated by the exuberance shown by Jack Ladder and his support. Fast-forward to 2011, and Jack Ladder has just released his new album Hurtsville, a melodic post-punk piece in stark contrast to the blues rock that had been prevalent on his earlier more well-known work.
When we arrived, there was a small crowd of punters who had arrived to see the opening act Forces, which we unfortunately missed. I had managed to catch Ghoul at Splendour earlier this year and had been impressed with their experimental rock. Similarities can be drawn to modern-day Radiohead, but apart from that, there sound is incredibly unique. The unorthodox drum-beat accompanied by minimalistic guitars and bass proves to be simple yet effective. There’s no over-crowding on the tracks, allowing for the vocalist to really explore his dynamic range.
Without a band to accompany him, Jack Ladder had acquired half the members of Ghoul to be his entourage for the tour. Playing the majority of his latest album, he stumbled around the stage like a man on a bad acid trip, as his echoing baritone soothed the adoring crowd. In a way, I was quite glad for the intimate crowd that had gathered in the Corner Hotel. Songs like Beautiful Sound managed to make the cosy hotel seem like a cavernous expanse, echoing off the walls and around the fans. He threw in a new track, 3 Stomachs, No Weekend, but the main set was dominated by Hurtsville, eventually closing the set with crowd-favourite Giving Up The Giving Up.
Although I haven’t heard much of his back-catalogue, the few I have are very blues orientated, showing off exemplary guitar skills. With this new change of direction, the encore sounded very different to what I was expecting. The Barber’s Song was played with out its iconic guitar riff, and rather filled with more brooding guitars, continuing the post-punk sound from the rest of the set. It was similar with You Won’t Be Forgotten (When You Leave). This change was surprising to many in the audience, who had grown accustomed to the older sound, but where willing to accept this change from Jack and his band.
Jack has an amazing stage presence. As a tall man, he dominates the stage, making an incredibly powerful image. Hurtsville is one of my favourite albums of this year, and the live show more than compliments it.