The Jets Bring The Christmas Spirit
Live Action From 80s Rockabilly Revivalists The Jets
Christmas arrived early at Famous Last Words (FLW) with 80s rockabilly band The Jets.
It has been a long time. Stuck inside the four corners of this waiting room, Famous Last Words (FLW) has been waiting for an opportune moment, a vacant slot in the diary, to finally experience 80s rockabilly revivalists The Jets live in the flesh. There was a brief moment back in 2013 when one out of three Cotton brothers popped up on bass, with no prior announcement, for a cameo appearance at the RAVE. It was as if Christmas had arrived early because lead singer and upright bass player of The Jets, Bob Cotton, put in one hell of a shift that particular evening right on the edge of summer that only whet the appetite further for a full band reunion in the near future.
With that opportune moment finally arriving for FLW in 2016, and with the festive season just around the corner, The Jets announced the perfect news of a winter tour. So with flight tickets in hand, the wait was finally over as FLW jetted (sorry!) at lightning speed to Blighty, and the county of Berkshire, to finally catch a glimpse of The Jets comprising of (Jet) Ray Cotton (guitar/vocals), Tony Cotton (drums/vocals) and the aforementioned Bob Cotton (lead vocals/bass) up on stage.
With the choice of venue being a casino situated on the edge of Berkshire’s largest town, there is a sense of “expect the unexpected” this evening because this is a first for FLW when it comes to gig venues, leading to thoughts concerning who exactly will be in attendance this evening considering the assortment of punters wandering about the place.
Once inside the actual venue, the room that greets FLW is set up for what resembles a private function, leaving us to ponder that maybe we had gate-crashed the wrong party. However, once the announcement arrives to welcome the Cotton Brothers on stage, which generates much enthusiasm from the small yet enthusiastic crowd, The Jets take to the stage under a confetti of glittering lights that resemble snowflakes falling from the sky above, and you couldn’t have asked for a more perfect entrance! Well, it is nearly Christmas after all.
Such a grand opening is instantly matched once the band roar into a lively version of their hit single, ‘Yes Tonight Josephine’ that sparks a deluge of memories from the decade that was the 80s and, of course, the band’s appearance on Top of the Pops! The flight bag could have been packed there and then considering such a faultless start that would have left FLW completely satisfied. Thankfully, however, the requirements of more than one song in any band’s live repertoire saw The Jets raise the bar further with a terrific cover of Charlie Feather’s ‘One Hand Loose’, and then followed by the forceful rhythm of their very own ‘(You Just Don’t Know How To) Treat Your Man’.
Considering their years performing live together, it comes as no surprise that The Jets function like a well-oiled machine as the songs come and go with ease, whether by cover numbers or self-penned titles that reveals years of experience and leaves the impression of a trio that has absolutely everything in their creative locker. Further evidence of this creative talent arrives once drummer, Tony Cotton, takes a giant leap to the front of the stage to accompany Bob and Ray Cotton for a doo-wop medley that leaves audience jaws gaping in sheer astonishment not once, but twice during the band’s set.
With no set list visible anywhere on the stage, the aforementioned precision at which this band functions is clear to see once an improvised rendition of ‘Cut Across Shorty’ unfurls at the behest of one supporter, and then followed by Eddie Cochran’s own ‘C’mon Everybody’.
The evening wouldn’t have been complete without a flurry of seasonal numbers, which The Jets duly provide, complete with fitting headgear, via ‘White Christmas’ and a belting cover of ‘Run Rudolph Run’ being among the highlights.
With no ‘Rock Around With Ollie Vee’ or ‘Rock Billy Boogie’ in sight, and therefore being the only disappointment on this side of the rockin’ fence, The Jets smooth over this setback (Only in our opinion chaps! FLW) with a new, and compelling composition by the name of ‘Hear Me Now’ that is muscular and brooding in sound, expertly portrayed by Ray’s snarling guitar lines, Bob’s raw slappin’ bass strings and vocal that is aging like a fine wine with its husky undertones adding extra spice to the tension at the centre of this song. If your heart desires fresh material that is on par with that other famous rockin’ trio with Johnny Burnette at the helm, then this is as close as it gets!
Concluding the night with The Jet’s other major chart smash, ‘Love Makes The World Go Round’, which ends a truly memorable evening despite the crowd petering out, The Jets, to their credit, never lose heart and carry on like true professionals to honour those still in attendance.
With the wait finally over therefore, any frustrations held, due to the length of time it has taken to arrive at this juncture with a live performance by the rockin’ Cotton trio The Jets, soon diminishes as FLW is left floating on cloud nine all the way back to the colder climate of the northern hemisphere.