We all know what a crap state the world is right now with the outbreak of Covid-19, the Coronavirus and we all have our own issues in dealing with this terrifying global pandemic. One industry that has been particularly hard hit is the music industry, in particular live entertainment, with the cancellation of every show for the foreseeable future and I dare say it, probably by the time this is done, every festival and show throughout the summer months.
What these talented individuals have done though, in this time of adversity, is find a way to keep in touch with their fans and probably more importantly for them, they have found a way to keep their creative juices flowing, fulfill their need to perform and keep themselves and us uplifted in these times of doom.
We all probably have a love/hate relationship with social media but at this particular moment in time, thank god it is there, as it means that probably every afternoon and evening you can log into your account and catch a member of a band you love watching or listening to perform a solo set from their own home, a sort of 21st Century way of entertaining the troops if you like. On Sunday I made a point of making sure my busy diary was clear to watch the absolutely fantastic Kim Jennett do just that.
So lets paint a picture shall we. Instead of a nice big stage, with flashing lights and a Myke Gray backdrop behind the drum riser and monitors and cables everywhere, we have Kim, the stage is her front room, the flashing lights are some well draped fairy lights, the backdrop is two pieces of art on the wall with a guitar between and no monitors or cables but a sofa and a mobile phone and laptop to film her set and send it out live over the internet. Fanbloodytastic if you ask me.
Kim appears in front of the camera, with her trademark black hat, a can of Ginger Beer and an acoustic guitar. She gets straight into it, no messing, with a cover of Halestorm’s “Here’s To Us”. Very apt under the circumstances and a very well thought out opener. I first saw her perform with Myke Gray at Hard Rock Hell in 2018 and she absolutely blew me away with that performance and the subsequent one on stage 2 with her then band Voodoo Blood the following day.
Since then I have marvelled at her talent with every video release and each show I have seen her perform at. This was no different. There are no mics, no musicians backing her vocal talents, this is stripped back, raw and all being played out through a camera phone. Her voice is more amazing than ever. The power and the emotion in it is just captivating as she nails the track perfectly. Lzzy Hale has one of the most powerful voices out there at the moment but Kim is every bit her equal.
At the end of that Kim, face clearly bubbling with enthusiasm, comes closer to the camera and says she is more nervous doing this than she is with a normal gig as it is completely alien. She can only see herself on her laptop and is playing to a mobile phone. Must be weird eh! She can’t see us but we can see her and the numbers watching are constantly increasing as the performance goes on, testament to the talent she is and the high regard she is held in.
Next up is a track requested by her patreon’s, well maybe not the track, but certainly the band, and a legendary female singer who has probably set the benchmark for female rock singers. Heart’s “Alone” is a power ballad of immense proportions and gives Kim the chance to really show off the power and range in her vocals superbly. No need for a mic at all, the strength and range in her voice is there for all to see and hear and comes though unquestionably on these opening two tracks. This is perfect for the occasion.
There is a beautiful glint in her eye as she reads the comments going up through the live feed. Again, testament to how people feel about her. Radiohead’s “Creep”, a band and song that has never really done anything for me, but Ms Jennett’s version was spellbinding. This led into the crowd singalong moment with a mash up of The White Stripes “Seven Nation Army” and the Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams”….each and every one of them in front of their laptops, tv’s, in the safety of their own home, but creating a heart warming atmosphere the length and breadth of the country that gave the performer a silent reward.
Kim is clearly having fun, it is written all over her face, the fans watching are loving it and both are making the best out of a “shit situation”. One viewer is quoted as saying “thank you so much, you have lifted my spirits today”. That sums the whole experience up superbly.
In another brief chat between tracks, Kim seems genuinely surprised at the numbers that are watching, I don’t know why and goes on to tell us that she is not doing this for profit or to earn anything from it but to raise moral for people, be positive in a time of negativity, have fun and just connect with her fans. She absolutely smashed it on all those if you ask me.
Now lets remember, she has no monitors, no levels, nothing to tell her what this sounds like, but she is knocking it out of the park. Halestorms “I Am The Fire” sees the guitar put down and a backing track used. Boom…..another track smashed out of sight. I would dearly love to see Kim do a duet with Lizzy Hale, if you ask me it would be immense. They are in my opinion two of the best female rock singers in the world today and their vocal styles are perfectly suited.
A quick rearrange of the stage settings, well okay she pushed the sofa back so that she could stand up and still be in camera view and then a really nice touch with “Count For Nothing” by Myke Gray, whose current band she fronts. One thing is for sure Myke sure seems to know how to find vocalists if you think who he has worked with before and in Kim he may just have the best of the lot.
Let us hope it is not too long before they resume that working relationship and are back on stages together around the country. I keep reading the comments going up through whilst watching and it is clear that people are really enjoying this and really getting into the spirit. There are some cracking comments about spaces being saved on the front row barrier whilst other watchers go for toilet breaks! Cracking, British humour and spirit at it’s best.
Now we know, that these live gigs over social media are all happening because of Coronavirus and Kim reminds us of that as she talks about job losses, hers included and how it is affecting people’s everyday lives. She is taking something positive from it though as the pandemic situation has inspired her to follow her passion and make music her full time career. I sincerely wish her all the best in that. She goes on to say that doing this show has given her the drive, purpose and a reason to get up each morning whilst she is in self isolation and is going to make them a weekly thing. Hurrah!
The final track before a Q&A session “I Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis, a track that means so much to her and the number that she always used to finish her acoustic shows with. During that Q&A we got to meet her dog Elvis, who was not in the slightest bit camera shy as Kim covered various topics such as dogs, favourite cakes, tattoo’s , songs, dream duets and that staple British meal, curry.
After all that was over, we had time for one more track, almost an encore and well deserved. What we got, was another legendary track and one that used to get sung by Kim, in her previous band Voodoo Blood. “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin brings this, the first “Live from my Living Room” session to a close with yet another stunning vocal performance on a track that she describes as “A bloody banger”. A bit like the whole performance if you ask me.
So that was that then. Kim Jennett – Live From My Living Room will be coming to your home on a Sunday afternoon during the Coronavirus crisis. The next two Sundays are already booked in at my house. Find her on Facebook and register your interest on the event page, you really won’t be disappointed and it is not like you will be down the pub or watching football. I thoroughly enjoyed that hour or so in her company, through a laptop screen and her vocals, with no ability to get lost in the mix, really made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. What we may just have found here is the nations heroin for the 21st Century, the Vera Lynne of the Coronavirus crisis. Lets so what we can to make her a household name by the end of it as her talents deserve it.
Facebook – Kim Jennett @kimjennettvocalist
Twitter – @kimjennettmusic
Instagram – kimjennettmusic
Patreon – www.patreon.com/kimjennett
Elvis (her dog) Instagram – kingelviepoo
Review by Darren Smith