Following the closure of the BBC’s iconic Television Centre this weekend, we thought we’d take a bleary-eyed journey down memory lane and countdown our favourite Later… with Jools Holland performances as the show prepares to move its famous round-room setup to the Maidstone studios in Kent.
For any repeated guest of the show, it must be hard to keep things fresh to audiences already known to you. After all, a large part of the joy of Jools is to discover new acts. But anyone who’s ever seen the constantly-brilliant and frequently-erratic Cat Power will know she has no trouble with this. Delivering a performance somewhere between Chrissie Hynde and Nico, ‘The Greatest’ has been her finest TV moment and remains indeed one of her greatest tracks to date.
Relationship of Command was a raw, frantic album. It’s messy urgency speaking to a new generation of alternate music fans more than any other at the turn of the millennium and their performance on Jools Holland in 2000 solidified why. It’s completely chaotic, out of time, out of tune in parts but my god is it incredible to watch Omar Rodriguez and co excitably jump around that stage, as if it was the heart of the song’s sentiment that mattered, wraught with surreal lyrics and high octane thrills. If you weren’t already a fan, this is what made you one.
Iceland’s Sigur Ros must have given Chris Martin and co a right old fright when they took to Jools to showcase tracks from the faultless and flawless 2005 album Takk. Here was a band wholly perfect for the kind of nature programme and movie trailer soundtracking that Coldplay were raking in the big bucks from, without evoking one to want to rip their own ears out. Sigur Ros nowadays, however, aren’t sounding so delicate…
Before Thom Yorke learnt he could dance, he clung to microphones and guitars in leather jackets and bleached blond hair, inspiring a shift in the introspective, inwardly focused grunge hang ups of the day. The title track from their third full length album, the first to be engineered by long time producer Nigel Godrich, was abrasive, dynamic and marked a change in the band, one evident in this Late Night performance; York’s angst ridden vocals straining over intensely layered, expertly executed guitar wails. Disillusion never looked so inspirational.
With their time-signatures and song structures so dynamic and complex as to warrant the otherwise ridiculous genre tag of math-rock, it was always going to be an interesting proposition to see how Battles fared live on the box. They didn’t disappoint either, with their instantly recognisable high hi-hat and pitch-bending vocals. As a commenter on Youtube so aptly puts it: “I dont do any drugs and I love this.”