I think I may have been to one too many gigs where the supporting artists always seem to feel like an afterthought or something to fill in the space of time before the headline comes on. This wasn’t the case with Jared James Nichols.
At the Living Colour gig on 25th July, I didn’t even look to see who was supporting because I was focused on seeing Living Colour; focused to the point that, when the first support act came on stage, I thought “Who’s this, then? Oh yeah; the support act”. I still didn’t take much notice, other than a passing thought that they looked American.
Then the long blonde haired band member said ‘Hello’ to the crowd with an American accent. Wow, he’s dedicated to keeping the band’s American image going – and yes, Jared James Nichols is American. The band immediately launched into their first track and if I was napping beforehand, all parts of me were now totally fully awake and listening! No gentle warming up going on here! In that very second I heard and felt quality, passion, skill and energy! They hit me like a bullet, a nice friendly bullet dislodging my nonchalant state right out of me. I instantly wanted to know more about who they were.
The trio that make up this genuinely awesome band are Jared James Nichols, guitarist and singer, the band’s namesake, and Ronnie Elvis James , who plays bass, then there’s Dennis Holm, drummer. Jared is from East Troy, Wisconsin and moved to Los Angeles in 2010, soon after forming the band with Ronnie and Dennis.
By the time the first song had finished, and after putting my surprised state safely back in its box, I could completely see why Living Colour had picked them as one of their support bands. Jared James Nichols is a band that is exceptional in the blues-rock genre. Talented and like Living Colour’s little cousins who will grow up in their own right, developing their own uniqueness and become their own influence. I’ve met three members of Living Colour and they are good people, as the American saying goes, on top of them being musical geniuses, a combination which isn’t always prevalent in entertainment. Jared James Nichols being under their wing in a way on this tour is the perfect place to be for such a hard-working band. They are absorbing and forging; learning from some of the best and bringing forward their own sounds and styles.
Their blues-rock gives them depth. I can listen to it all day long. It never gets boring because blues can take you anywhere you want to go musically. It makes your musical world your oyster.
Jared reminded me just a little of a young Peter Frampton, with his long blonde hair and guitar, a guitar he seems to be at one with, a sign of an excellent musician. After doing a little bit of research on the band, it turns out his guitar, which he calls “Old Glory” has a personal customised set up for his specification and his specs have been replicated on the guitar type he plays (Les Paul) and is now being sold. The guitar has become a force and somewhat of a legend in its own right in the guitar world. That’s pretty cool. Jared has won the prestigious Gibson Les Paul Tribute Contest as well as Musicians Institute’s Most Outstanding Player Award.
With the added high calibre of drumming from Dennis and bass from Ronnie, the trio creates a mighty force on stage. Song after song after song I was more and more impressed by their performance. They are excellent musicians – tight, on point, had great songs I’d want to listen to again and again. The crowd loved them. They worked their butts off playing hard on stage and gave 100%. They play from the heart, too. I got a few friendly “glad you are feeling the vibes” smiles from Ronnie on bass, which shows they can connect with the audience. Very important in my books. They are humble and happy and have really good energy. What’s not to like about these guys!
I briefly met them after their performance and Jared, Ronnie and Denis are thoroughly lovely. Well mannered, kind natured and friendly. I think the drinking, smoking, leary bad boy rock image of rock artists must be dead now, thankfully, as none of the bands was like this. The whole night was full of good people on stage and off stage, having a good time. It was an extraordinary atmosphere.
Jared James Nichols have a very golden future ahead, of this I have no doubt! I look forward to following their progress, seeing more live performances and learning more about them.
It was a pleasure to be introduced to Jared James Nichols’ music and special because it was at the gig of my favourite rock band, Living Colour. I feel like Jared James Nichols will be entering my Hall of Favourite Bands!
Thank you Jared, Ronnie and Dennis – and keep smiling, Ronnie!