I’m pretty sure these are my first two shows of the year, and even though I’ve got a rubbish memory, I’m fairly sure I’m going to remember these shows in December. Certain gigs, bands, whatever just stick with you. You always know instantly when something is going to mean a great deal to you.
I wrote about Juan around Christmas time, I was bored at home and I accidentally found his music. I was hooked on his Ramones kind of sound and obviously instantly fell in love with what I was hearing. I caught his show last night at the Lock Tavern in Camden, I don’t think there was more than 30 people there. The stage was tiny. Perfect for a giant to flail about on stage, right? This evening he played the Shacklewell Arms which has a low ceiling. Fortunately Juan isn’t accident prone so no injuries occurred. You always (or you should) take something to treasure from a show. What I took from these two shows was that, Juan is more than just a guy who really digs the Ramones. He’s got a proper Punk sound, and his cover of I Wanna Be Your Dog is one of my favourite things I’ve seen at a show. He plays it in his own way but it’s a way that Iggy would be super proud to hear.
I’m not someone who ever takes the set list after a show but for some reason, I did tonight. I wanted to remember what was played during his first UK tour and there’s no way I could remember any other way. His set started with It’s True and went smack into Home. His cover of Chinese Rock is played quite early on, and it’s one of those covers where you feel it is his song. You don’t feel like it is a Ramones song, and that’s when you know a cover is done right. My two favourite songs he plays (bar the covers) are Far Rockaway and Wake Up Daddy.Break It All is also a great one to watch as he seems to go a bit wild on that one
His energy on stage is what really sets him apart from most. He throws his body about on stage with his guitar firmly on him, knocking the mic stand in a way that makes you think someone is going to get a busted lip or black eye. His songs are gentle at times, and this is where you can hear just how great his voice is. He’s part Joey Ramone, part Buddy Holly. He merges two singers I absolutely adore and has created this sound that is evidently out of this world. The two shows he played in London were free, so I guess it is true what they say- the best things in life are free! The crowd were wonderful and you could tell that the love was mutual. There’s this infectious passion that comes through when you watch him, and you cannot tear your eyes away. He’s got this way of making you wish you could make this kind of noise with an acoustic guitar. He plays as if his life depends on it, gripping the microphone in his mouth and you get lost in this whirlwind of sweat and fury. It could bring anyone to life. Metaphorically, of course.
On record you sometimes can’t imagine how it will come across on stage, but with Juan it is is so easy. He’s just like how you’d imagine him to be. He’s a pleasure to watch and you get a feeling that he can’t believe he’s come all the way from Far Rockaway to London. Let’s hope it is the start of many more shows here, more people need to be turned onto this guy. I’ve got a few bands/singers I would happily watch live constantly, and Juan is most definitely one of them.