The 100 Club, located at 100 Oxford Street is one of the most iconic venues London has to offer. The venue has been hosting live music since 1942 under the name Feldman Jazz Club and since 1964 as the 100 Club. It is one of the oldest, independent venues worldwide.
Throughout the decades the venue has been hosting all type of live music, from the blues of Muddy Waters and BB King, the rocking hippy taste of The Who and The Kinks in the ’60s, the iconic Sex Pistols, The Clash and Siouxsie & The Banshees brought punk to the venue, bands like Oasis and Suede in the ’90s played their early shows here, followed by Kings Of Leon, Queens of the Stone Age, Metallica, Alice Cooper, Blur, The Rolling Stones, Primal Scream, Paul McCartney and Paul Weller to name just a few. The list of artists who perform at the 100 Club is impressively long and keeps growing and I had the honour to see not one, but two great musicians adding their stamps to the iconic venue in one night.
Chris Shiflett, known worldwide as Foo Fighters’ lead guitarist and Nic Cester, frontman of legendary Australian outfit Jet topped the list of 100 Club performers on a one hot and sweaty night in June.
Just before Foo Fighters are set to head off to Reykjavik (Iceland) for Secret Solstice Festival (16th June) to fire the ball of the first show of their long-awaited European tour, heading to the UK later this month for their headline slot on Glastonbury Festival‘s famous Pyramid Stage on 24th June, Chris found time to play in London, these intimate, acoustic shows promoting his latest solo album West Coast Town.
It’s been years since London has seen him performing solo, so demand for the tickets was much higher than the capacity of the tiny 100 Club. Although there was no coincidence in choosing the size of the venue. Chris admitted on stage, he was looking forward to playing the smaller club, a venue that gives him that unique feeling of the bonding with his audience, something huge arenas lack.
The sound of Chris’ solo work is very different to that of Foo Fighters, it is top-level Country storytelling with moving lyrics and catchy melodies. Opening with a supreme cover of Buck Owens’ I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail, Chris invites the gathered crowd to enter his musical world of Country. Joking that this night is not about guitar solos, Shiflett continues to deliver a honky-tonk and rock ‘n’roll mixture, showcasing his ability to perform as a great frontman.
Blending his own tunes and personal stories, Chris apologies for being massively jet-lagged, arriving only a few hours ahead of the show and jokes about this being his second performance of the day. Forgetting London’s compact nature, he got himself out of the bath and realised he was being watched by the woman on the opposite building!
With the audience cheering, Chris continues to treat the crowd with tracks from his latest album. Girls’ Already Gone, Blow Out The Candles and my personal favourite track I’m Still Drunk, which, Shifty jokingly says, it’s about that feeling all of us will experience tomorrow. Room 102 brings another personal story his wife wasn’t too happy discovering, the song “is clearly not about me” says Chris.
A few times during his performance, the Santa Barbara native mentions that these songs not meant to be played by a single man and guitar and that he usually has a full band backing him up and so, for his two last numbers, he invited band mate Rami Jaffee (Foo Fighters’ keyboardist) to join him on stage and give the songs an extra twist with his accordion, joyful, honky-tonk solos.
The two deliver my other favourite West Coast Town cut and flawless Waylon Jennings cover Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way. Our time with Shifty is over but the crowd are in for some more treats tonight. Although being jet-lagged and sweaty hot, he found time to meet and chat with those willing to.
The bar was set very high when Chris Shiflett was announced as the opening act for Nic Cester and The Milano Electrica. But there is no competition when artists like these meet and share a stage and a room.
Nic Cester, lead vocalist of Australian band Jet, came to London in support of his debut solo project with backing Italian band – The Milano Electrica. Having spent years living in Europe and travelling between Germany and Italy, Nic bonded with musicians he met on his journey. This collaboration results in brand new music from Cester and an album is expected to be released later in the year.
Like Shiflett on stage before him, Cester’s new music is quite different from his work with JET. The bluesy melodies and signature solos deliver a brand new feeling with the far more exotic collection of his all-Italian band, comprised of two drummers, bass, guitar, keyboards and a horn section.
The set kicks off with Sugar Rush, a funky feeling song with Nic taking lead on this musical journey. While the audience might be not familiar with the songs, they are greeted with raised hands and open hearts.
Nic takes a personal approach and lets the packed 100 Club be a part of his own story. Who Do You Think and Hard Times start the party and lead to the more intimate Let It Go and Andrea. Nic chooses to share an intimate story about the song written for his father who passed away. It’s one of the songs he didn’t plan to perform tonight, but with the news from home about his grandma passing, he decided to perform a moving tribute to her. Seeing the reaction of his shocked audience, he comforts fans saying “it’s all okay, it was all peaceful and in time”. Shine On – tonight’s only Jet song – was a solo performance by the 37-year-old to a silent audience, something hard to believe the 100 Club has ever seen before.
Finishing with the groovy sounds of Not Fooling Anyone and melodic Neon Lights closing his set, Nic Cester once again proved that he is the artist to keep your ear out for.
Live review and photos of Nic Cester and The Milano Electrica /w Chris Shiflett & Rami Jaffee at 100 Club, London on 13th June 2017 by Edyta K