A week ago today I joined forces with Caroline English and Kat Williams and went off to interview a little group called The Jess Hall Band. They’re currently on tour supporting Newton Faulkner and last weekend played Princess Pavilion in Falmouth – just down the road.
First thing that struck me about the band were how lovely and how young they were! All 18 years old or there abouts and boy did they look it. The band comprises of Jess Hall and her group of talented cohorts i.e. best mates; drummer Stefan, bass player Andy, vocalist Alex and current stand-in guitarist Austin (Alex broke his finger skateboarding). Jess was spotted on Youtube but told by her manager that she’d be better suited in a band rather than as a solo artist – cue the talented bunch of lads she just happened to be friends with!
‘Before this we’d only played to about 50 people’ (Alex)
Before their current tour the band had never played for such big audiences – this is a big step up for them – but one they can clearly handle, despite their self-professed nerves.
‘We spent all day yesterday trying to calm Jess down!’ (Stef)
I didn’t know what to expect before arriving at the pavillions; I’d heard a couple of their songs during the car journey on the way to the interview and was impressed- but that wouldn’t prepare me for what I heard when we got there.
A truly good band or artist is one that always sounds better live.
My dad (despite never going to gigs) always says that the best bands are the ones that sound better live. That’s something that’s always stuck with me. A great band is one that, after you’ve watched them play, you almost can’t bear to listen to for weeks afterwards because hearing them through your iPod earphones is a massive anti-climax after experiencing the real deal.
Well, Jess Hall and her friends didn’t disappoint. They were amazing. Jess’s voice, despite claiming to sound flat after the performance, is beautiful. I felt completely spoilt standing there behind our P2 camera watching this bunch. They completely exceeded my expectations.
It sounds lame to say it was a real treat to have a band plonk themselves down outside and play for you on demand – but it genuinely was and it gave me such a buzz. This is a band people will be paying to go and see in the future and I got to stand right in front of them and watch them play!
Their music has a folk feel to it, it’s soft yet soulful and although they look their age they don’t sound it; Jess has already been praised for being mature beyond her years thanks to her poignant lyrics:
and the closest place to home, is the furthest I can run,
and after all that’s happened, well I just can’t remember the last time I felt young.
For a band so young, they’ve got everything ahead of them – and if they’re able to produce songs like this now, who knows what she’ll be writing in the future. They remind me of a female fronted version of Bombay Bicycle Club; shy, unassuming but mega talented with bags of potential.
The Jess Hall Band have already found fame after featuring on BBC Radio 1, getting a mention on air from the very lady herself Miss. Fearne Cotton. They’ve been tipped as an up and coming talent on BBC’s Introducing page and just by taking a glance at their Facebook page you can see their fan base is building with each live performance.
I have a feeling they will go far. I mean look at Laura Marling – one day I was watching her sing on Jools Holland in a Spice Girls t-shirt and the next she was receiving a Brit Award for best female.
Before we left I told them I hope to see them on the BBC Introducing stage at Reading festival in the near future – I’ll be the one standing at the front singing along to every word.
Get their EP Play Shy here.