By Samantha Lloyd
Photo Credits Graham Webb
There are times when you attend a gig and you know that you’re going to remember it for years to come. Jaret Reddick’s ‘Heartache & Hilarity’ Tour is one of those gigs.
The evening begins with The Lounge Kittens taking to the stage at the Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton. These Southampton based charismatic, elegant Kittens purr their way through a 50 minute set of some of the best cover tracks I’ve heard, not to mention their scantily clad bodies in hologram style sparkly costumes, and their hilarious stage banter that has the audience in fits of laughter! The Lounge Kittens are Jenny Deacon (keyboard and lead vocals), Timia Gwendoline (vocals) and Zan Lawther (vocals). Armed only with the keyboard and their impressive set of power pipes, they display an impressive range of harmonies and melodies as they make their way through a set list of well constructed tracks, ranging from a cover of Steel Panther’s ‘Glory Hole’, to an 80s Cartoon Medley of ‘Gummy Bears’, ‘Thundercats’ and ‘Transformers’ (to name but a few), giving their music a really engaging and amusing sound when arranged in their hallmark 1940s/1950s lounge style delivery.
Throughout their performance, The Lounge Kittens really know how to command the stage with presence while engaging the audience at all times. Lawther, the dinosaur enthusiast of the band, encourages the audience to join her in creating the Slade Rooms very first T-Rexican wave (I’ll let you think about that one for a second... got it yet?.. if not then you need to see these Kittens live or search for their performance at Download 2017 where they enticed the crowd to join in!). The cheers, laughter, and applause that ensued said it all really; brilliantly funny! The Lounge Kittens are an entertaining and hilarious trio, and their set really warmed up the crowd for Jaret Reddick.
Reddick’s 1 hour and 50 minute set was entertaining, emotional, endearing, and completely immersive. Vocally, he is in top form. His voice is clear and powerful through the songs and he holds the attention of the crowd so easily with his playful banter. ‘A Night with Jaret Reddick’ probably describes what I witnessed this evening. The laid bare, one man and his guitar, brutal honesty really allowed the fans to connect and understand Reddick in a whole new way while listening to the stories behind the songs and gaining a new insight into the Bowling For Soup front man. The whole set was accompanied with humorous anecdotes, such as the story surrounding ‘The Bitch Song’, which made the audience laugh out loud, while his emotionally charged stories concerning loss, love, grief, divorce and heartbreak were accompanied by tracks such as ‘When we Die’, ‘Cold Shower Tuesdays’ and ‘Me with No You’... and lots of stories about getting drunk, being hung-over at Disney studios, and getting obscenely drunk again!
Reddick played 15 tracks during the set, ranging from the hits of BFS to the less mainstream tracks, yet throughout the performance the audience sang along to every word (including the Phineas and Ferb theme tune!), true die-hard fans were here tonight and their affection for the BFS front man was evident throughout. Reddick spoke affectionately of his band mates, shared the fun times, the hard times and addressed issues of addiction and especially depression, outlining his personal battle with anxiety and depression over the years, stating quite adamantly that he told the doctors ‘There’s no way I’m depressed! I’m hilarious all the time!’, but as it turns out, he says that really doesn’t matter. He then slid into the track ‘Turbulence’, a song that outlines and highlights that ‘we’re all passengers tonight, and we’re all just travelling through our lives, we will reach our destination, so just hang on for the ride’. As fans I guess it’s all too easy to place our idols on a pedestal and forget at times that they are human too, that they are not excused from the pressures of life and they are subject to the same emotional experiences as us. He encouraged anyone who is struggling with depression to seek help, speak out. Or reach out to someone if you know that they are suffering with depression. To end the set he plays the much loved ‘1985’, a great song made even better by The Lounge Kittens standing in the merch area blasting out the chorus on kazoos! Such an entertaining evening filled with highs and lows.
Jaret Reddick’s ‘Heartache & Hilarity’ Tour isn’t a preach at his fans though, for me it was a way for him to connect with his fans on the same level, it was intimate and he was charming tonight at the Slade Rooms. He made us laugh, he made us sad; but I for one could have stayed all night listening to him sing and talk. Such a great night!