Later… With Jools Holland makes its return to screens this month, bringing with it the possibility of a new batch of brilliant TV performances. To put things in context, we thought it’d be worth having a proper recap of what’s come before, by asking you for your favourite …Jools Holland performances so far. Here’s a selection of your best suggestions, along with the reasons why they’re worth checking out…
Jack White – ‘Ball & Biscuit’, 2012
Promoting his first solo album ‘Blunderbuss’, Jack White plays a galumphing bluesy classic from his White Stripes days. There’s a second or two just after the three-minute mark where things quieten down, putting the rest of the four noisy minutes into sharp relief.
Ian Dury – ‘Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll’, 1998
This 1977 single, which never charted, is brought to gritty life by Ian Dury, who at the time was two years into a four-year battle with cancer. But his cackle at the end is full of defiant beans.
The Strokes – ‘Last Nite’, 2006
Should The Strokes have played Jools Holland before 2006? Probably. Five years on from their 2001 debut, though, and ‘Last Nite’ still sounds as fresh as ever.
At The Drive-In – ‘One Armed Scissor’, 2000
This is possibly the most frenetic, in-your-face performance ever to appear on Jools. That’s no hyperbole – just look at it. But Robbie Williams’ stricken face afterwards as he enquires, “Can me mate have his chair back please?” just tops it all off.
Muse – ‘Hyper Music’, 2001
Similarly loud is this from the early days of Muse. Not quite as mobile as At The Drive-In, but they make up for it in the decibel count.
Arctic Monkeys – ‘Brianstorm’, 2007
Keen to prove themselves with a strong second album after the huge success of their first, Arctic Monkeys brought even more energy and precision than they had on their debut Jools performance (‘I Bet…’) with this one of ‘Brianstorm’. Check out the false finish at 2.35 if you weren’t sure.
Radiohead – ‘Go to Sleep’, 2003
This ‘Hail To The Thief’ cut showcases Radiohead’s love of complex time signatures, but it’s Jonny Greenwood’s guitar solo that makes the strongest impression. I challenge you to watch it and not wonder how he makes those sounds.
The Hives’ – ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’, 2001
Sometimes it’s the simplest chord progressions that work the best, and that’s definitely the case for the suited and booted Hives here. We can even forgive raucous frontman Pelle Almqvist his joke, “Wanna know how to spell The Hives? G-E-N-I-O-U-S”. It’s lovably audacious, but the Swede should maybe work on his spelling – especially if he’s going to do it on national television.
Björk – ‘Crystalline’, 2011
Repping Iceland in her own inimitable style, Björk sings about geological phenomena with plinky synths and a choir of girls. And just when you’re getting comfortable with her Big Ideas, things suddenly get loud and chaotic, with Björk dancing and conducting her drummer’s thunderous rhythms.
Villagers – ‘Becoming A Jackal’, 2010
Judging from this performance, Villagers, aka Conor O’Brien, is pretty much the walking embodiment of earnestness. Here the Irishman makes a Jools debut full of soul and tenderness.
Bloc Party – ‘Like Eating Glass’, 2004
That insistent guitar thrum, just as it slid downwards – it was like a clarion call announcing the arrival of Bloc Party, who produced one of 2005’s best debuts and have since meandered a little confusingly through four albums, all the way to the new lineup of 2015. Will the new material live up to this raw, sweaty classic, though?
The Verve – ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’, 1997
This one’s pretty straightforward – or so it seems when it opens with a live string section. But as soon as the guitar and bass come in, woozily veering through their separate lines, it morphs into an all-encompassing, reflective audiovisual experience. Plus – Simon Jones’ Topman jumper, right?
Battles – ‘Atlas’, 2007
This avant-garde, voice-crunching electro perplexer goes down like a… er… no, not sure. It’s surely new territory for the Jools audience, who react to the seven-minute whirl of weird like any Brits would – with noble, patient confusion.
The White Stripes – ‘Icky Thump’, 2007
There’s any number of White Stripes performances that could have been chosen, but this one, ‘Icky Thump’, has Jack and Meg at the top of their game. If you’ve somehow never appreciated ‘Icky Thump”s guitar line before now, this clip should convince you of its brilliance.
Paul Weller – ‘Stanley Road’, 2005
This was part of ‘Stanley Road Revisited’, a 2005 special looking back at Paul Weller’s 1995 album. And listening to this perfect rendition gives you every reason to go back and revisit the classic – now 20 years old.
Future Islands – ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’, 2014
Samuel T Herring danced his way into our hearts with ‘Seasons…’ back in March 2014 on Letterman, and here reproduces the performance, perhaps even more polished at this point. It’s completely engaging.
McAlmont & Butler – ‘Yes’, 1995
Attempt to classify this song at your peril – it’s got elements of many genres, every one pulled off brilliantly. McAlmont and Butler were formed by David McAlmont of The Thieves and Bernard Butler, Suede’s guitarist. This strings-heavy song, supplemented by Butler’s rock, is the perfect vehicle for McAlmont’s soaring voice.
Seasick Steve – ‘Dog House Blues’, 2006
Blues star Seasick Steve first appeared on Jools for the Hootenanny in 2006, charmingly introducing his band and blues style, before becoming a huge success in Britain in his 60s. It’s pretty clear why from this clip.
Radiohead – ‘Paranoid Android’, 1997
There’s a huge amount of love for this performance of ‘Paranoid Android’, from Radiohead’s 1997 album ‘OK Computer’. Its six minutes are almost a cinematic experience – the lighting and camerawork perfectly complement the faultless rendition of the song itself. Does it get any better than this?
Amy Winehouse & Paul Weller – ‘Don’t Go To Strangers’, 2006
It’s hard to pick out just one of Winehouse’s Jools performances; this slow groove, performed with a magisterial Paul Weller, is restrained but still full of heart.