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Bristol, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

Bristol, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Band Rock Adult Contemporary


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"Vistic album launch Review"

John E Vistic/Emily Breeze/Joe Volk/Daisy Chapman John E Vistic/Emily Breeze/Joe Volk/Daisy Chapman
The Tunnels, Bristol (Thur 24 Mar) • Daisy Chapman’s voice flies with pretty strength among looped coos, handclaps and piano notes, before Joe Volk brings forth a set fleet of guitar and soft of voice, like glowing embers gently stirred and dissipating in the hearth. Emily Breeze gives a Bristol debut to her new band, and it’s a whole new country. Or, rather, non-country: filthy stop-out chords heavy as her mascara and smudged as her lipstick, her overall look/sound like Caitlin Moran channelling Patti Smith in a pair of silver stilettos. Bass, drums and keys fall in behind and hammer everything to the power of three. Still, pencil thin and ink indelible, this is Vistic’s night, launching ‘Modern Love’ with that kinetically charged guitar playing where it’s not clear who is electrifying who. Nevertheless, for all his wig-out wizardry, the fabulously OTT rocking moment comes when he sheds the guitar and ushers in string quartet and brass for a passionately gesticulating chanson-lounge interlude. Like a helicopter looping the loop, the most outlandish can’t be/shouldn’t be done moments are the most spectacular. A truly magnetic performance. When was the last time you attended a local gig and saw the crowd scrabbling for a keepsake copy of the setlist? (Julian Owen)

Copyright Julian Owen 2011

- Venue Magazine

"John E Vistic Thunderfest Review"

This is a Crackerjack review of Thunderfest 2010 - John E Vistic Experience. Do you agree? Rate and review this event.

Crackerjack rating: 9 / 10.

The opening night of what will hopefully become an annual bash culminated in an eye-poppingly explosive set by the John E Vistic Experience which saw the visceral Vistic attempting some spontaneous rock and roll DIY on the Thunderbolt’s ceiling with his electric guitar, to the apparent delight of venue boss Dave McDonald.

Earlier, events got off to a more sedate start with Countryside, whose wistful, atmospheric Americana brought Grandaddy and Lambchop to mind.

They were followed by The Bohemian Embassy, fronted by the splendid Ben Angel – an anorexic Hunter S Thompson – who engaged the growing crowd with his band’s spiky, choppy pop.

Things moved up another gear with the arrival of Ulysses. They’ve rightfully been racking up rave reviews for their irresistible brand of ‘future classic rock’ – recalling Great British bands like The Kinks, 10CC and Thin Lizzy through a psychedelic loud hailer – and tonight their killer set of established favourites (Dark Old Days, Lesson One) was enhanced with great new songs in the shape of Eye On You, Everybody’s Strange and Flowers. Ulysses = mighty.

There was a great moment during Howlin’ Lord’s set when he started up the riff to Steve Miller’s Space Cowboy, to the consternation of his bass player and drummer; then he stopped, shook his head and declared "Oh yeah, this is a gig, I’m just having a good time ..." And by now so were we.

His Lordship turned up the heat in the ‘Bolt until the joint was jumping to his maverick country groove; he switches effortlessly from electric guitar to keyboards to banjo, running through his repertoire of lovelorn, care-worn, beer-soaked ballads and swampy stomps with genuine gusto.

The ballads drip with reverb and melancholy and the up-tempo numbers strut right along with a badass bar-room bounce. Howlin’ Lord is usually at large on the local live circuit – hitch a ride whenever you can.

John E Vistic took that temperature control and stamped it into oblivion. He and his band were dangerously flammable from the get-go, which was, appropriately enough, I’m On Fire (Acquitaine) - full-bore rock and roll, delivered like a telegram from hell by Iggy Pop and some volcano-eyed preacher from the deep south. And like every real rocker, his guitar appears to be grafted onto his hip (apart from when he broke a string and changed to a back-up – which immediately suffered the same fate) and he damn near played the thing to within an inch of its life.As a frontman he has knife-edge charisma and total belief in his material – and with good reason.

There wasn’t a moment’s respite or dip in either momentum or quality tonight; he tackled Nick Cave’s The Weeping Song head-on, with no qualms and no flinching, and as he shed first his suit jacket and then his shirt, he walked, ran and finally jumped into the vortex of what he and his band had created – beautiful, ugly, pure, dirty rock and roll.

After the gig I spoke to a veteran of the Bristol music scene, a man who has been in the business for over 20 years. As I described Vistic’s set, my pal nodded and simply said: "Yeah, he’s the real thing, isn’t he?" That he is.

Jay Williams
- CrackerJack


With television, politicians, pop stars and the like all searching for that middle ground, it seems as though the whole world is all playing up to what might sell or get them the popular vote, so its refreshing to hear an artist passionately nailing his colours to the disc and purveying original music straight from within with John E Vistic. But politicians aside (in an attempt to keep this review to a sensible and readable size), what disappoints me most about the modern manufactured music of the last few years is that although some of them can undeniably sing well, if you can't see them and all the sales package that goes with them, you really do have a job telling them apart. That’s why it depresses me when I listen to genuine talent with a properly unique voice struggling to be heard or get their music noticed on a national level, especially when they can also write seriously good songs as John E Vistic can on his album ‘Modern Love’.

If you were to put this album on in the background, you could easily be forgiven for thinking this is as simple as good old fashioned blues rock. All your senses, your reference points and experience say this is raw as hell; this is 60s garage stuff, and it would be a shame if you listened no further than that, an enjoyable shame - but a shame, because if you listened more carefully you would realise that although it is all that, it’s not only that as every last track on this album has something different to offer. Subtleties at a slightly less obvious level than you might expect and it’s clear a lot of thought and work has gone into the production of this album, its roots are in the halcyon days of albums when music had dynamics and you heard something different every time you listened, music that begged you to listen….

Right from the first song, the title track of the album, ‘Modern Love’, the harmonies don’t punch you on the nose, but once you notice them, you are more than full aware of them. The arrangements and the lyrics, especially highlighted in the tenement song, are the stuff of proper songwriting and delivered with an authenticity that mostly disappeared before the youth of today were born. The album ‘Modern Love’ one grows and grows and it’s not many listens before you forget that this is a contemporary band, on an independent label and not someone who has been around for years.


Visceral guitar ace John E Vistic’s about to unleash new album ‘Modern Love’. Julian Owen pins back his lugholes. Pics: Chris Cooper.

Even his speaking voice sounds like the product of an early morning bourbon-gargle. Every which way, Bristol’s most electrifying, can’t-take-your-eyes-off guitar wrangler, John E Vistic is steeped in – and projector of – rock ’n’ roll mythology. Indeed, he’s the only interviewee Rock Desk has met who unashamedly uses the term as a noun. This morning he was watching Julien Temple’s Pistols doc ‘The Filth and the Fury’ and thought anew: “Rock ’n’ roll is the most dirty, amazing, inspiring thing you’ll ever see.”

’Twas pretty much ever thus, from the time a teenage Vistic was growing up in his native Australia and obsessing over the poster of a Rolling Stone pinned to his wall. The only surprise is the subject: “Mick Jagger in a weird space outfit, playing a 1967 Gibson SG.” When Papa Vistic set off on a trip to New York, Junior let drop that “guitars are really cheap in America. He went to a shop in a really heavy part of Harlem, pulled out a piece of paper I’d scrawled the name on, and asked ‘Have you got one of these?’ ‘Well, yessir, we do.’” Within a week it was standing beneath Jagger’s gaze. “I looked at it every day, thought ‘I’ve got to learn how to play that, man...’ It makes you want to rip it up!” Use of present tense is well met, for it’s the guitar he uses to this day. The other key, unfading influences were his guitar teachers, ambling out of bed at one in the afternoon, “blearily asking ‘What time is it?’” and “Walking out of a bedroom stuffed with guitars and girlfriends and fag butts, always amps in the hallway, brake fluid for the old Ford Fairlane outside. When you’re 15 you think ‘I want to be part of that’.” And still today, wide-eyed enthusiasm utterly undimmed, iconoclasm unbowed. “You go through a love/hate thing with rock star people, ’cause you’ve got to be a bit of a prick to do it. But when it’s done right...”

Still, don’t even begin to think you’ve got Vistic pinned. For Vistic is the alter ego of a man who spends his weekdays in London as a Shakespearean academic, will airily wave at the statue in the centre and declare “Edmund Burke is a big hero of mine” and proceed to weave the great man’s philosophy into a full half-hour pondering of music’s potential as a socio-political tool. The distilled version runs thus. “Burke’s great idea was that the way this country holds itself together is its commitment to the past, the great tradition. And without the great tradition there is no future. In 1977 when the Sex Pistols were saying ‘No future’, this country changed. Everything fell apart and now it’s rebuilding itself. If you’re playing rock ’n’ roll music, one part of you wants to tear the world apart and rebuild anew, and yet you can’t – you need the stage, the lighting rig, the audience. How do you balance that? I don’t know. It’s the snake that eats its own tale, the eternal loop.”

More bookishly still, his next project – written with keys whizz bandmate Adam Coombs – is

“called ‘Russian Winter’, based around Bulgakov’s ‘The Master and Margarita’. It’s electronic-symphonic dubstep, a concept album from start to finish: one day in Bristol, 24 hrs of madness. One guy thinks he’s the Master, and is looking for Margarita all over town. Totally different to Vistic...”

To whom we should return, for the immediate future sees – at last! – the launch of Vistic’s new album ‘Modern Love’, with a maximum rock ’n’ roll gig at The Tunnels: “String quartet, brass section, the whole thing; rock ’n’ roll force, but the power you get from orchestral arrangements.” Support includes the Bristol debut of long-time collaborator Emily Breeze’s new band, and a whole heap of rum courtesy of Sailor Jerry, supplier of same to kindred spirits Jon Spencer and Jim Jones.

The album was recorded straight to tape at Toybox, partly under the supervision of Paul ‘Nick Cave, The Cure’ Corkett, and virtually overdub-free. Throughout, that inimitable playing, the guitar as if forced against a grinder, main riff standing strong but flecks and sparks of electricity flying off all over. Pumped-up stomp ’n’ roll showing you can take the boy out of Australia, but... An album as broadly, unambiguously riff-boogying as AC/DC or Jet, given texture by piano-pummelling Stones-flavoured gumbo and Iggy-ish, cocksurely dismissive vocal.

It is, he says, the most fully articulated recording of a musical philosophy that says: “Sure, you need to practise scales in your bedroom, but there’s nothing to replace sitting with a bassist and a drummer, turning your amp up as loud as it will go.” Consequently, he’s partly deaf in one ear. “I want something visceral. I don’t play really fast stuff and only occasional riffs – it’s more about the feeling of the noise rising up into one perfect note. I just wanna go out and feel something.”


John E Vistic’s new album “Modern Love” will be released in all available formats on April 24th 2011.

First single 'Til My Loneliness Has Gone' out on pink vinyl on Impedance Records, Australia Nov 2009.

Classic Vistic tune 'Gamblin' Man' has also been included on a compilation released by German record label Wolverine in 2009.



“The John E Vistic Experience have something special... the flavour of old school rock and roll delivered with an originality and freshness that makes it appealing, an energy that is hypnotising and a swagger that draws you in and spits you out when they're done.” (Simon Harvey)

With his whisky-drenched vocal, incendiary guitar style and hypnotic stage presence, John E. Vistic is a well-known figure on the Bristol and West Country live circuit. Inspired by great song writers such as Cave, Cohen and Dylan as well as guitar bands, like The Drones, The Stooges, and Dinosaur Jr, John E Vistic’s mission is to deliver powerful and iconic rock n roll songs with a raw and bleeding heart.

John E Vistic’s new album ‘Modern Love’ was recorded straight to tape at Bristol’s Toybox Studios by Ali Chant (PJ Harvey) and produced by Paul Corkett (Nick Cave, The Cure, The Horrors). ‘Modern Love’ is an epically amped-up album of dark love songs and familial meditations played with electrifying power by Vistic’s legendary rock n roll band – Adam Coombs (Keys, Backing Vox) Guy Fowler (Bass), and Dan Clibery (Drums) with additional vocals from Daisy Chapman (Crippled Black Phoenix).
A tremendous 12 months in 2009 started with JEV slaying their competitors at the Michael Eavis-judged Rockstar Bands competition, in which the band performed at the Pilton Party in front of 4,000 people alongside Dizzee Rascal and Florence and the Machine. Part of the band’s prize was to be the first band announced on the line-up for Glastonbury 2010 where they played three shows during the weekend including a set on the BBC Introducing stage which led long-term fan, 6 Music’s Tom Robinson to declare them “the uncrowned kings of the West Country”.

The band have honed their art through their blisteringly hot live shows - from high-profile supports to busy headline gigs - that regularly leave the critics searching for superlatives:

“Sideburns, shit-kickers and light-blue-touch paper rock’n’roll. The Vistics press pedal to metal and motor through a blistering set of old school values such as breakneck
guitar solos, greasy Hammond and vinyl trousers.”
Venue Magazine [Glastonbury Festival review, June 2010]

'...with no qualms and no flinching, as he shed first his suit jacket and then his shirt, he walked, ran and finally jumped into the vortex of what he and his band had created – beautiful, ugly, pure, dirty rock and roll...' [Crackerjack Live Review 2010]

"The JEVE's music fuses rockabilly, dirty blues and country with a rawness and energy that sends you and a bottle of Jack kicking and jiving back to the days when rebels didn't even need a cause. The Libertines meet Jon Spenser in a Rock N Roll Car Crash." [Moles Club Live Review Jan 2008]

To date JOHN E VISTIC have also supported (amongst others) The Jim Jones Review, C.W. Stoneking, The Bookhouse Boys, Middle Class Rut, and Alabama 3 (whose front-man Larry Love was so impressed by his opening act that he introduced himself on stage as “John E. Vistic”). Other festivals for the band in 2010 have included the Bulldog Bash, Trowbridge Village Pump Festival and a headline set at the Bristol Festival.

An early special pre-album release version of the track ‘Til My Loneliness Has Gone is also available now on vinyl on Impedance Records in Australia.

John E Vistic’s new album “Modern Love” will be released in all available formats on April 24th 2011.