In October the Jive Aces performed for the first time in Russia. A historic event, especially for the rock’n’roll and swing crowd out here in the East. The venue was the B2 Club, one of Moscow’s biggest music venues.
The gig was co-organised by Co-op Jive (www.coopjive.co.uk) and as a result I was involved in the arrangements. The Moscow support bands, the Great Pretenders (rockabilly style) and the Gagarin Brothers (sorta swing / jazz ) put in 2 impressive performances. The DJ played rockabilly in between sets, not exactly gel-ing with the Jive Aces brand of music, but rockabilly is fine by me!
In a previous UK Rock, there was a debate “Are the Jive Aces rock’n’roll” ? Well they’re not pure rock’n’roll that’s for sure: Too many other influences in there for that to be true. But there is a dose of the great music in there to make them part of the rock’n’roll family. Sure they probably have a bigger following amongst the swing dance crowd, but to hell with being a purist in these matters. Great music is great music and if it’s got a dash of rock’n’roll in there even better – and that’s what the Aces have got, a dash (not a bucketful) of r’n’r.
In their early days there was more of the r’n’r style. Check out their first ever CD “Our Kinda Jive” and you’ll see what I mean. It’s my favourite Jive Aces CD.
A dance competition was also ongoing throughout the evening. We chose Yulia and Sergey as the winners, not for any steps or flashy techniques but for the spirit in which they danced – the most important element of jive dancing. Great dancing is from the heart not the feet (if you see what I mean): That’s a message for a few swing dancers (!) – “it’s not what you do but the way that you do it” …………
There was some apprehension (by the Jive Aces and myself) of how big the turnout would be, as the gig was booked for a Sunday, starting at 9:00 p.m. Would this affect the crowd and those of us who had to be at work early on Monday morning? But no worries, a big crowd turned up and the atmosphere was terrific.
From the Jive Aces first (instrumental) number, the crowd were ecstatic. If Russian people like something, they’re very open with their feelings. To coin a phrase, “the joint was jumpin'”. The band went through some of their traditional numbers, “Caldonia”, “I ain’t got nobody”, “Bona Sera”, “Accentuate the positive”, etc., plus those I hadn’t heard during my time following them in the UK. I moved to Moscow from London over 5 years ago to live and work here. It was interesting to see after 5 years how their act has developed and changed. Even their traditional numbers they delivered in an even fresher, vibrant style. I didn’t think when I left the UK they could possibly improve significantly on their live performances. But they are better: This is one band that is not going to get smoother nor stay in a comfortable groove. After 5 years they’re even more vibrant, lively and unpredictable. As bands get older they’re not supposed to do this, but this one does !
A Jive Aces set involves lots of inter-action with the audience, including coming off stage to play their instruments amongst the audience, jiving with some of the dancers, singing to selected young women, etc. ! Plus in the traditional Jive Aces style of giving more than value for money, their set in Moscow was a long one, including a lot of encores.
And another feature of their concerts:
After the gig, just as they always do in the UK, they spent time with the audience, posing for photographs, signing autographs, or just talking to people. A nice touch; being willing to give time to those who’ve paid to see them.
Overall a superb evening. The plan is for them to return to Moscow next year. When I spoke to the band about their time here, they were all positive about the place and the people. Moscow is a great city and Muscovites, like Russians generally, are genuinely friendly and welcoming. And let’s not get into talking about Russian Women – the most beautiful in the world ! Plus it was a bit annoying to see that after 5 years the band don’t look 5 years older. Why can’t they age like the rest of us ?!
Their advertising blurb describes them as “the UK’s number 1 jive and swing band”. Having seen the best bands of that style over the years, to me they’re “the world’s number 1” in that particular field of music.
I’ve written quite a bit about Russian rock’n’roll for UK Rock over the past 2 years, so won’t repeat what has already been penned. Suffice to say the scene here, especially in Moscow, is vibrant, growing and rockin’. The rockers here are generally younger than in the UK, also very enthusiastic about the great music. For more info on Russian rock’n’roll, go to my web-site at www.coopjive.co.uk and head for the feedback page.
There’s more to come soon in Moscow. Early next year we’re bringing back the Liverpool band Furious to the city – now here we ARE talkin’ pure rock’n’roll ……………………