Expect the unexpected. What at first may walk in line may soon meander down routes that lead you to places of joy and exuberance. Expansive lyrics cover the mutilated mundane to the gleefully abstract, on a backdrop of gritty guitars, soulful sax and jazz-beat percussion, The Joker & The Thief like to walk their own way.
After years of playing live – from the 100 Club, to Hop Farm, to the top of London's Primrose Hill – The Joker & The Thief finally present their debut release – the 'Secret Ballroom' EP. The five-track EP creeps from atmospheric beginnings to bombastic sonic explosions, focusing on their authentic, rootsy sound combining powerful voices, bellowing saxophone, foot-stomping rhythms and gutsy guitars.
"Our shows have always been messy, chaotic and with lots of improvisation, so it seems strange to capture our sound in some sort of permanent form. I hope we've managed to do that and maintain the raucousness and spontaneity you get from being in the same room as us. We're very proud of these songs, they've morphed and grown out of hundreds of performances and now they exist even when we're not playing them, which seems bizarre, but exciting too… "
Named after their massive love of Dylan and Hendrix, the band of childhood friends, who formed when they were five, draw their influences from a number of styles. "When asked, we sometimes say we play soul music. There's an obvious blues influence in a lot of our stuff but we listen to gospel, rock 'n' roll, psychedelia, folk, new stuff, old stuff, weird stuff, spoken word, vaudeville … We all remember seeing the Tiger Lillies in Shockheaded Peter when we were about nine years old and I think the offbeat peculiarity of an act like that is very important to us."
Dan, Justin and Josh have stunned audiences with their musical bravado and performance. The lyrics get under your skin, rewriting the love songs of the past with a modern and individual twist and the music grabs you by the collar with its incessant passion dripping out of every note.
Catch The Joker & The Thief at The Wheelbarrow on June 3rd, the Strummerville campfire at Glastonbury, Larmer Tree with Jools Holland and more to be announced.
The Joker & The Thief: Howlin' Dan Grabiner - vocals, percussion. Justin Gartry - guitar and kick-drum. Josh Elliott - saxophones, accordion, ukulele, musical saw, piano, vocals and other stuff.