The Jealous Girlfriends: Jackpot Saloon – Lawrence, Kansas

Waiting three and a half hours for a show put on hold for a basketball game to end sucks. Period. Honestly, most bands are not worth that wait. Luckily this show was special. Getting The Jealous Girlfriends in the room is worth sitting through anything, especially if their boy Kevin Devine is on the bill.

The set began strong, with a clutter of piano and guitars under smooth female vocals, easing their way towards a top heavy drum pattern that balanced its rhythm with the steady beat of Alex Lipsen‘s electric synthesizer. Opening with “Roboxulla,” the fourth cut off their upcoming self-titled album, The Jealous Girlfriend’s make no buts about the fact that they’re here to play, starting strong, with a momentum that would be the driving force of the band’s eight song set.

Slowing down slightly to feature the night’s headliner, Kevin Devine, on acoustic guitar, “Herio,” the evening’s second song flows in a more patient and steady manner than “Roboxulla.” The song’s vocals, shared by both Josh Abbott and Holly Miranda, bounce from male to female to male again, sometimes backed by Devine, create a very balanced and harmonic feel. Furthermore, Mike Fadem‘s drums, hidden in the offbeats over wisely spaced guitar solos, ease up on the verses before striking heavy throughout the pissed off chorus highlight the charm of a song with the tendency to remain passive with oozing stage presence.

Swinging upwards in both in driving and ambition, the set’s next song, “Gifthorse,” pushes the set forward in both volume and intensity. Since grabbing the crowds attention is not only important but necessary as a band supporting a headliner, The Jealous Girlfriends use their male vocals to assist their strong suited and dominate female vocals, placed fittingly over the song’s bridges and verses, created with powerful drum riffs, guitar structure and synthesizer sounds, which at times border on a Pink Floyd wall of noise sound which makes the Jealous Girlfriend nearly impossible to ignore.

So with the crowd eating out of their hand, the band grabs the opportunity to highlight the often overlooked singer-songwriter aspect of their musical career. Miranda’s vocals are highlighted, sitting gently over the soft, picking guitar featured on “Wrong So Long.” The progressive drums beats, which all but throw the song off its steady beat, seem fitting against the calm, planned nature of the remained of the song’s build up and back downs which repeat throughout this roller coaster of a song.

Opening with a unique sound, the result of a drumstick on a drums rim, “Monkey” shifts the attention from calming to larger than life. These rim shots lead to big hits on toms, and cymbals hits adding exclamations to the points the band wants you to hear. Mostly driven my male vocals backed by female harmonies hidden throughout. The song’s breakdowns allow the band to collectively move, shake and throw their hair with the huge build-ups that grows until they can’t possibly get louder.

Following a path that has lead the band to its current musical peek, the ending sequence of The Jealous Girlfriends set, “Secret,” and “Message,” highlight the bands talents as well as any song has thus far. Managing to balance bits of 90’s guitar structure, reminiscent of the Gin Blossoms with a newer choppy White Stripes feel, big chords work down to silence used as notes. This silence helps fade down into the calm, piano based structure of “Organ,” with Miranda on keys, wailing over the vocals and sliding guitars, before slowly fading away into the end of an evening well spent and worth the wait.

You can catch The Jealous Girlfriends on the remained of their tour with The Most Serene Republic.

The Jealous Girlfriends’ Website
The Jealous Girlfriends’ Myspace
Good Fences

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