Jared James Nichols made a rare appearance at London's Black Heart to an enraptured audience. While the techies finished setting up the stage, the clock already ticking beyond start time, the audience grew restless with shouts of 'Jared' rising above the dimly lit room. Once JJN burst onto the stage along with Dennis Holm and Clark Singleton to perform 'Easy Come, Easy Go' the energy was palpable and you'd have been convinced he was playing to a bigger crowd rather than 150 people sardined into a Camden venue. The Nashville-based guitarist showcased his distinctive pick less guitar technique up close and personal, (if you were lucky enough to be near the front or very tall at least.) From rock, blues, and grunge, JJN plays in an authentic way and amalgamates the genres to suite his own story and style. The majority of the set focuses on JJN's latest self-titled album, which was designed to be played live and was recorded with this in mind. Nichols plays with a great feel too. A lot of players get a big up likening them to be the next whoever, sometimes it's hyperbole, and other times it's for real. Believe the hype surrounding JJN: He has all the attributes of a bonafide guitar legend, with his long curly hair, trusted Les Paul and de-rigor stage peacocking, but this isn't style over substance - he has the chops to pull it off.
JJN also has a finesse that many other rock axemen lack. With all the impressive noodling - with post-solo vocalizations of approval from the crowd- he knows when to be subtle on tracks like the incredible 'Shadow Dancer' or play thumb-splitting rock tracks like 'Down The Drain'. He also shines on 'Man in a Box' a cover of the Alice in Chains track which has become a live stable for JJN. It's not only his adroit playing that impresses; his vocal abilities and songwriting mean business. It's little wonder that he's a popular draw, but he really should be playing in a slightly bigger venue. Fear not, while this may be a rare appearance in the UK, he's also supporting Winery Dogs when they play London in the summer and will get the opportunity to showcase his multifarious talents once more.