We are massive fans of singer/songwriter Jo Meares, giving last year’s album, ‘Dream Hotel’ – a collaboration with Anth Dymke – a well deserved 9.5/10. It is welcome news indeed that he is releasing a new live album and film called ‘Faster Than A First Kiss’, celebrating the live gigs that followed the album release.
The album and film records Meares’s gig at the Factory in Sydney in November last year – captured by our photographer Deb Pelser – and will be launched by a series of gigs with an eight-piece band to the stage of The Great Club in Marrickville on 19 August, with support from experimental electronic dream pop/art-rock act Fabels, from Sydney and Berlin, who are launching a new single.
As Jo explains, he will be joined by an impressive group of musicians, each highly regarded in their own right, and most of whom played on the live album:
‘Dream Hotel’ was always going to be extraordinarily difficult to produce live…
There are all kinds of electronic, percussion, keyboard lines that are not straight ahead and simple to put together as a band. The band I assembled were more than up to the task. In fact, they recreated the songs and presented them with a new grace and feel that was simply gorgeous.
Reuben Alexander on drums/percussion was the key element. He could recreate exactly the feel and complicated rhythmic arrangements and percussion perfectly and bring them to life.
Matt Galvin did more than just play the guitar parts he brought an attack and sensitivity that is up there with the some of the best guitar work I have heard.
Jessie Newling and Jessica gelled beautifully as the backing singers. Jessie Newling’s ability to sing super powerfully in many registers blended beautifully with Jessica’s ethereal, gentle, lush tone.
Anth Dymke’s bass was just brilliant. Groove, precision and feel and his electronic programming was superb.
For me personally it was an extremely nerve-racking but rewarding process. I have never performed simply as a vocalist without playing guitar. The songs are also more nuanced and probably more intimate than a great deal of my previous work. I think this brought an intensity to this show that hopefully we can build on in the The Great Club performance.
The live show seemed to take the songs to another, and quite unexpected, other place. The recording and film work seemed to capture the live feel well that we just had to release them.
The show at The Great Club will be further enhanced with the addition of Michael Bridges on violin and saw and Brad Christmas on keyboards.
The film will be available on You Tube Film release on 20 July and the album will be released on 18 August.
The live album ‘Faster Than A First Kiss’ will be launched on Saturday, 19 August at the The Great Club with another favourite, Fabels – tickets available here.
Before the live album and film release, Jo will bring his Melbourne band the Silver Bullets to NSW for the first time, for two special nights in Sydney and Woy Woy, both with Golden Fang.
In the meantime, ‘Dream Hotel’ is out now through the link below and is be available to stream and download at all the usual places.
Feature Photograph: Deb Pelser