David Bowie, garage rock, vaudeville undertones

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The streets of historic downtown Houma are alive with movement and music on a Saturday night during the summer. Crowds gather into the handful of nightclubs and pubs lining the sidewalk to quench their thirst and listen to the area’s premier original musical acts. The Boxer and The Barrel is the site of tonight’s three-band bill that has drawn the attention of a houseful of music lovers. I arrive just at the right moment to witness pure rock pageantry at its finest. The band is the one and only Jak Locke Rock Show, and the mind being blown is my own.

The show takes care of each and every person craving something musically in the audience. The men and women are dancing to the rock songs and grooves alike. The music can be described as glam rock fused with dancehall, which makes for an interesting array of tunes, as you can imagine. The show flows effortlessly from hard punk rock, transitioning into bluesy reggae jams with pop flavor sprinkled on top. Eccentric front man Jak Locke commands the interest of everyone in the audience. The room is completely enthralled and totally captivated by the sheer experience.

The Rock Show is made up of four musicians from around the bayou region. Locke, also known from the NOLA Treblemakers, is the center of attention on guitar/vox, with his erratic stage presence and true rock grit. Scott Blanchard shreds it up right along side of him on lead guitar. Bassist Alberto Bertolino consistently lays down not only funky baselines, but also stone-solid grooves. Percussionist Trace Cannon accents the music in just the right way to keep everyone’s feet moving to the tempo. The original music produced by these individuals is astounding. It’s easy to see that this is the product of years of hard work and determination.

The current incarnation of the Rock Show has been around since early 2011, but it is the culmination of years of solo work and previous projects. “Things always seem to work out to where I meet people when I need them most. It’s very serendipitous,” said Locke about his outfit. Blanchard and Locke have known each other since early 2003, and Blanchard has drifted in and out of the band since then. Cannon joined the band in 2009, with Bertolino following closely after in 2010. The band has quickly garnered a well-deserved reputation for their live shows. The energy that the band exudes can be felt in the air. The music is different, itself, as well. I asked Jak to describe his sound to the best of his ability. “It’s like David Bowie meets garage rock with vaudeville undertones,” he replied.

Locke’s influences can be heard in his music. Bob Dylan, Beck and many 1950s rock ‘n’ roll artists have lent Locke inspiration in the development of his original music. All the music that Jak Locke has recorded over the past fourteen years is available for anyone to download on his website www.jakelocke.com. All mp3s are available free, with donations being graciously accepted and humbly appreciated. 

There are many great tracks to chose from in this collection of music, but here are a few of my favorite cuts that will introduce you to the Jak Locke experience. 

“Dreamless” is a timeless hard rock song that will appeal and appease any fans of the genre. The high-octane performances of this song should be seen live. 

“Nothing But Time” is a body mover that will make you sway to the beat and will infect your subconscious. 

Finally, “I Haven’t Snapped” is a song reminiscent of Queen. The theatrics of the performance play out with grandeur and Locke’s voice is truly well suited for the material.

The Jak Locke Rock Show is a band to be experienced in a live setting. Words can only go so far as to describe an audible and visual experience. At some point you have to take it into your own hands and see for yourself. You can see The Jak Locke Rock Show again July 12 at The Boxer and The Barrel on Main St. You won’t be dissatisfied with the performance that you receive from the Rock Show.

The immensely talented Jak Locke fronts the Rock Show, which plays Houma again on July 12 at The Boxer and The Barrel.