Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen The Gov Friday 24 Nov 2017
Review by Geoff Jenke
Jon Cleary plays Funk, New Orleans Funk, and as one of his song titles describes, he also plays Jazz, Funk, Rhythm & Blues and Soul. He has played with some of the giants in R&B, including Taj Mahal, B. B. King, Ryan Adams and Bonnie Raitt, who unabashedly labelled him the 9th wonder of the world. He was also here to promote his latest album Go-Go Juice.
Jon and band were obviously here to have a good time right from the start. He played two sets with tracks old and new included. The band smoothly moved from funk to blues and in the second half threw in some jazz to the delight of the audience.
The band, all New Orleans born and bred, had grins on their respected faces all night. AJ Hall on drums supplied the beats during the evening, Nigel Hall filling the air with a lot of smooth organ sound, while Cornell Williams laid down the bad bass lines.
Jon led the band through songs off the new album with Beg Steal and Borrow, Boneyard and 9-5, 9-99 getting an airing. The song he wrote for Taj Mahal, Cheatin’ on You got an arousing reception from the crowd who were down the front and dancing from the first song. The afore mentioned Jazz, Funk, Rhythm & Blues and Soul was a highlight of the evening as was the New Orleans Funk and Blues lesson Jon gave us all during the second half. This included a great rendition of a song written by New Orleans blues artist, Professor Longhair. At one stage during the second half, Jon left his keyboard and played a couple of songs on guitar. A nice interlude in which Jon showed his talent was not restricted to the keyboard.
I have to admit not knowing anything by Jon Cleary before attending this gig (I went on the recommendation of a mate – thanks JG) but have been trawling the Tube since watching live shows. After band introductions at the end of the show, Jon invited everyone of us to join him for a gig in New Orleans, anytime we are nearby. Now that would be something.
They may play jazz, funk, rhythm, blues and soul, but they sure rocked the house this night.