The Juliana Theory 100 Club, London
Date: November 2002 Publication: The Underdog Author: Claire Llewellyn
"You're such a wonderful crowd, give yourselves a round of applause." Sanctimonious American bullshit. I think had it been said by any other band I've seen this year it would've thrown the audience into revolt but the irony lies in it's truth tonight and the sizeable beam on singer Brett Detar's face is testament to that. Down in the depths of the 100 Club, The Juliana Theory are giving their first UK performance, and boy is it going off in style.
There's literally sweat dripping from the walls. It may be November but it's damn hot in here. As I swig from my once cool, but now tepid, bottle of water I can only begin to imagine how uncomfortable the band must be feeling, in their tight fit jeans, as they lunge into their guitars. That's one laundry run the road crew will be fighting over later.
There's something genuinely great about being in a jazz club but listening to a rock band. Something that lingers in the air about the really gutsy, vibrant jazz nuance that gives thrashing guitars and sensitive boys an altogether fresh appeal. I don't know, maybe it's not that so much as knowing that outside the blissfully unaware bustle that is a Friday night on Oxford Street continues to hum, whilst below their feet a handful of kids are rocking out underground and getting sweaty with one of the greatest bands the music press have failed to notice. Maybe it's just the great feeling of knowing something that they don't know. Even at 23 there's some childish sense of achievement in that.
The Juliana Theory aren't another run-of-the-mill band riding the Jimmy Eat World gravy train. Sure their melodic rock could be feathered in that genre but with harmonies to die for and a far more rounded and full bodied sound, they could knock a million others from their pedestals if they wanted. But there's the catch, because if that's what they'd wanted they could've done it and you probably would've heard more of them before now.
As a hundred kids cascade "In your eyes I see a darkness that torments you, and in you head where it dwells. I'd give you my hand if you reach out and grab it, let's walk away from this hell." It's seemingly the greatest thing Brett has heard in a long time and begs the question, why didn't you come here sooner? With the imminent answer that they'll definitely be back soon.
Words: Claire Llewellyn