White Hot Jet’s (skillfully) bizarre debut

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June 10, 2013

White Hot Jet
Rehab Nightclub, Victoria BC
June 7, 2013

 Reviewed by Blake Morneau

I was filled with an unhealthy dose of skepticism as I walked into Rehab nightclub for the unveiling of new all-girl rock band White Hot Jet–after all, the press release I received stated that the band was put together through auditions by local producer and songwriter James Kasper (who has also written the bulk of the band’s music to this point), where he “cast” Animal Amber (drums), Messica Wild (guitar), Jillian Drayz (bass/lead vocals), Jennie Boomboom (lead vocals) and Courtney LeStrange (guitar). It wasn’t only the idea of a male setting out to build an all-girl band which made me a little uncomfortable, but of a band built by a mastermind. This goes against nearly everything I’ve been taught to believe in regards to honest, pure music. But playing their first show months after the audition process began must be a wholly exciting time for White Hot Jet, so I assured myself over and over I would go in with an open heart and mind, ready to honestly embrace whatever I saw on the stage.

White Hot Jet kicked off after what can only be called “The Great Raffle Disaster of 2013,” which left the band standing awkwardly on the stage, filling with impatience as ticketholder after ticketholder abandoned their door prizes and chose to remain silent. It was an auspicious start to say the least.

The band’s strength is danceable power-pop that lies somewhere between The Donnas and Metric. The first track they played, their first single “Never Comin’ Down,” is a piece of pop-rock clearly written as an introduction to the group that features singer Jennie Boomboom declaring the band’s name as the hook drops. “I’m a white hot jet, I go the speed of the sound!” I didn’t like it when Bad Company did it, and I can’t say I really like it any more now.

All competent players, the women of White Hot Jet can kick out a jam, no doubt. This is tight, lean music, devoid of filler. I would have liked to see more guitar solos (with two guitars playing this kind of music, the solos seem sort of requisite) and maybe a longer appearance of the accordion, briefly played by Messica Wild. This would have prevented it from feeling like some bizarre, out of place gimmick. Really, these are minor things that any new band goes through. There’s always room for growth.

As this was the band’s debut, no one knew the songs they were playing but people seemed to be digging it. The crowd was ecstatic as the Jet broke out a pretty raucous cover of Adele’s all-too-covered hit “Rolling in the Deep,” a song that really needs to not be covered any more, by anyone. It seems a strange choice, if not just an all-too-easy choice, for a band trying to establish their identity to choose such an iconic pop song as their lone cover. The crowd was eager and appreciative to hear a song they knew and it would have been an ideal closing track. Playing such a heavy-hitting and, more importantly, familiar, song in the middle of their set seemed to suck some of the energy out of the remaining songs. After those final few songs the concert ended as abruptly as I have ever seen with simply the proclamation “Thanks. We’re done.” Hold for the audience’s awkward befuddlement. I still haven’t gotten over mine.

Blake Morneau is a lover of aural pleasure who has been writing about his passion for nearly two years. Follow him on Twitter @MusicRags

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