Material: The Running Jumps’ brand of jangle pop is heavily inspired by ’60s British and American power-pop groups like The Kinks and The Zombies along with ’80s influences XTC and Jellyfish. Featuring pop melodies, chiming yet offbeat guitar riffs, and straightforward song structure, the band navigated their mostly original set seamlessly; confident in, and having fun with the material.
Musicianship: As veterans in the music business, The Running Jumps are skillful players, fully invested in the process. Martin’s guitar playing sets the power-pop vibe while Johnstone’s drum work packs a punch, prompting Martin to warn the crowd, “If you were paying by the drum lick tonight, you’d be in trouble!” The flawed areas occurred due to some rough harmonies and sound mix issues, which led to vocals getting drowned out and an overpowering bass line at times.
Performance: Playing the prime time slot in the venue’s back room, the band got the mostly full-house crowd engaged and moving with their upbeat performance, starting with The Beatles inspired “I Hope You’re Feeling Fine.” Martin relished his time on stage, interacting with the audience and his bandmates, which led to a friendly, laid-back vibe. The rest of the set spanned a mish- mash of styles and influences, ranging from prog-rock sounds like Yes and Rush to more power-pop in the vein of Cheap Trick. The head-scratcher of the night goes to the Iron Maiden cover, “Sanctuary,” which came off much too saccharine without the necessary Bruce Dickinson, made-for-metal vocals.
Summary: The Running Jumps are more than capable musicians, clearly enjoying what they do and bringing that positivity to the performance. The handpicked musical lineup, however, did not do them any favors, as the opening act was a moody (albeit talented) singer/songwriter who provided an odd juxtaposition to the jangly pop style that followed. It took the band a few songs just to revive the energy in the room.
Overall, while a talented bunch, The Running Jumps did not present a show that stood out as exceptional, a key factor that the band will need to address if they hope to advance in this industry.
The Players: Joel Martin, lead vocals, guitar; Sid Jordan, bass, vocals; Todd McDearman, keyboard, guitar, vocals; Dave Johnstone, drums.
Photo by Grant Stoner
The Running Jumps - "I Hope You're Feeling Fine"
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