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Jel: Live in NYC
The Bitter End, July 28 2000
By Daina Kazmaier
(more articles from this author)
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The masses of people looming out front of the Bitter End on Bleecker St. didn't know what they were missing inside... up-and-coming rock sensations Jel had the entire place (which was, by the way, packed wall-to-wall) mesmerized; there wasn't one person in the joint who wasn't at least bobbing their head to the liquid rock coming from this band.

Kicking off the set with high energy album opener "What Kind of Mood" seemed to be an obvious choice- I was actually hoping to hear it first- it's catchy to a point of redefining the term 'catchy'. The band was totally into it; there was actually reverb bouncing off the walls of the club (not that it was a spacious place, but you get the point.) Vocalist Jeff Preston, quite the natural performer, justified that song with his fresh tenor while writhing around the stage (and giving me quite a strange look while I took his picture!)

The vibes continued as the band moved right in to "Get In Line," another one that never has a low moment to rest. Plenty of emotion entwined in this number, not only in Preston's vocals, but in the rest of the band's presence and interaction with the crowd.

"Dreams" was next in the lineup...also the best track off their album 'Too Much Imagination.' Heavily bassed-up intro by Tony Germinario and awesome guitar work from Jeff Katz and Rich Simoniello. This one was quite a hit with the crowd, and then the band bounced back with a little surprise...starting off "Paint" with a cover of Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth." (Yeah, you know the one...'Stop hey, what's that sound...") It worked perfectly. The crowd couldn't get enough of it; there were people dancing in the aisles for the rest of the show. And believe me, if I wasn't writing this, I would have been right up there with them all! Excellent drum work and solid bass playing throughout the song.

Slowing down and becoming dramatic with the acoustic intro to "More a Mystery" was a good follow-up- the backing vocals courtesy of Tony Germinario were polished perfectly for this number. "My Ex" was a new song; very fun lyric-wise (I don't love you anymore....sorry!). The band was actually taking names of exes from the audience to include in the jacket of their next release. The drums really held this one together. Jel was on a roll- they followed that with another new one dubbed "Sweden," a tale about a 'sweet Scandinavian girl.' Softer vocal style here, definitely has potential.

Closing the set with "Suburban Legend" was a good choice; the song is heavily riffed and full of power. I could literally feel the sound coming from the guys. It's quite emotional, Preston actually appeared to be in pain as he delivered this one to the crowd. Awesome tune to end an even better performance. Jel left me (and the rest of the house) wanting more. Check this band out, you WON'T be disappointed! (and no, it's not a porn site, as the band is quick to point out.)

Related MusicDish e-Journal Articles:
» Jel - Too Much Imagination - Smoove Records (2000-08-20)

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