At first glance Junior Bill’s set is a joyous high-energy conga of skanking world music and new wave pop delivered with perfect exuberance by a terrific band. A guaranteed good time. On closer inspection though, frontman Rob Nichols’ songs about resentful mortgage payers, toothless care home dwellers, lost asylum seekers and clueless high street urchins actually tell sad stories about the worried state of the nation and it’s mistrustful inhabitants as we drift inevitably towards our post Brexit fate.
Musically eclectic, they reference reggae, laced with snips of soul, hi life and hip hop as well as punk and indie. In their shows they build a cohesive backdrop from these disparate elements with carefully crafted setlists that frequently change the mood from shouty singalongs to soulful sadness and back.
Often the lyrics accuse the writer himself of complicity in the perpetuation of the societal myths the songs create, “Who said you could film us?” shouts Rob above a jolly Calypso melody, “You make us look disgusting!” referencing his own tendency to see his song’s characters in a voyeuristic light.
Yet somehow at the end of the process there is always a sense of optimism and a feeling that Junior Bill are on hand to make the world a slightly better, and more fun place to be.
Catch them and become part of the story.
“Everybody’s talking about Junior Bill… a real grassroots sound, instantly” Tom Robinson – BBC 6 Music
download press pack