It was 9am on Friday 24th May, I was sat in a Heathrow hotel, attempting breakfast ahead of a flight to New York with my family when a reminder popped up on my phone, it was for a one off gig at The 100 Club in the heart of London featuring a ‘Super-Group’ made up of members from MUSE, BLUR, JET and THE ZUTONS as well as the legendary frontman MILES KANE. They call themselves ‘The Jaded Hearts Club Band’ and tickets were VERY limited. I did what everyone does and gave up after 10 minutes of trying via the usual website and decided to leave it a while and tuck into a slice of toast. Shortly afterwards, I tried the site again and imagine the look on my face when a single ticket request proved fruitful…. I was going to what can only be described as one of the best gigs in the world!
Fast forward a week or so and I find myself stood in a queue outside The 100 Club on Oxford Street alongside 15 or so other fans who had managed to secure tickets for this one off event. As the time trickled by like treacle, the queue started to grow and come 7:30pm, there must have been at least 200 people lined up outside the venue.
As soon as the doors opened, we were allowed in to the venue and after a bit of a mad dash, I found myself sandwiched between a photographer and a pillar which acted as a great leaning post to rest my weary legs after hours of queuing! I was also stood about 2 feet away from where Matt Bellamy from MUSE would be playing bass guitar on the stage. With no security pit in place, this was about as ‘up close and personal’ as you’d ever want to get with the band (or should I say the band to the audience!)
At 9pm, Dominic Howard (the drummer from MUSE) took to the stage and thanked everyone who had donated to such a worthy cause and explained that this really was a one off special event and that the guys were really looking forward to putting on a show for the audience. With the pleasantries done and dusted, the band shuffled onto the stage, clad in black jeans, Chelsea boots and black leather jackets, looking very much the part of The Beatles during their ‘Hamburg Years’ and launched into “I Saw Her Standing There”, the first of many 60’s inspired cover versions.
It took me (and no doubt countless others) a few minutes to acclimatise to the fact that we were stood so close to some of the finest musicians in the world, you could literally reach out and touch them if you felt the need!
Matt Bellamy ditched his trademark light up shades, the space-age Manson 6 string, robotic spiders and out of this world stage setups in favour of a simple miniature Hofner violin bass guitar (a la Paul McCartney) which he played like the true professional that he is, at times, you could see him looking like he was about to burst into a finger tapping ‘widdly-woo’ solo type affair but given the catalogue of songs they had selected, this just wasn’t an option! Graham Coxon from BLUR looked super cool knocking out lead guitarist on his Gibson Les Paul whilst Miles Kane and Chris Cester (JET) shared the vocal duties throughout the set. Sean Payne (THE ZUTONS) looked at home behind the drums and we were also graced with the presence of Abi Harding (THE ZUTONS) who took to the stage to perform sax on a couple of tracks.
Initially, I thought they would only be playing Beatles covers but midway through the set, they burst into ‘You Really Got Me’ by The Kinks, ‘My Generation’ by The Who, ‘Sunshine of your Love’ by Cream and ‘Paint it Black’ by The Rolling Stones which really helped mix things up a bit and give everyone in the audience something to sing along to…..and we did, loudly!
The set came to a crashing close with a sublime version of ‘Helter Skelter’ by The Beatles, Kane and Cester really giving it 110% on the vocals. The band bid a fond farewell to the room before exiting the stage and running the ‘selfie’ gauntlet prior to taking refuge in the dressing room until it was safe to come out again!
Come the end of the show, we stood waiting for an encore, the tour manager took to the stage and started to wind up cables and when he was asked if we could expect anymore, he simply replied with “They don’t know any more songs”, which made me laugh out loud, I mean, take some of the finest musicians from some of the most talented bands in the world and put them on stage together, I am 100% certain they’d be able to cobble something together! Regardless, I had witnessed 60 minutes of the finest musicianship in a venue that is more used to housing up and coming acts on London’s ‘toilet circuit’, not the calibre that had come together this evening to raise money for the chosen charity.
I did see Dom Howard and Miles Kane doing the rounds after the show, it was great to chat to them about the show and see just how exhausted they were after the performance (Dom wasn’t a sweaty mess, though I can’t say the same for Miles Kane!)
I called it a night at 11pm after chatting to Sean Payne from The Zutons about the upcoming festival season and made my way back across London to my budget hotel ahead of the drive back to Exeter at 5:30am the next morning! I left on a high, I don’t honestly think that I will ever have the chance to relive this experience and I wanted to say a HUGE thank you to the musicians that agreed to come together to make it happen in the first place, it truly was a night to look back on for a very long time indeed!
Review and Pics by Steve Muscutt