On a chilly February evening, The Southern’s intimate concert venue hosted high intensity rock band Jameson Tank, along with Charlottesville bands Beezin and The Lint Collectors. Though they had performed at multiple venues across Charlottesville, this was the band’s first time taking the stage in this location. The performance both flaunted the band’s skill, while also bringing their weaknesses to the forefront.
The band’s namesake — lead singer Jameson Tankersley — kickstarted the band’s performance with two energetic original songs, “Drive Me (Up the Wall)” and “Side Mission,” giving the crowd a taste of what was to come. Tankersley was backed by magnetic lead guitarist Bryce Burnette, understated bassist Javier Solozardo, and tireless drummer Conner Ankerich.
The band built intensity masterfully with their original song “Smoke Me Out,” which showcased Burnette’s versatility and skill on the lead guitar. After hypnotizing the audience with a short solo, he immediately singled himself out as a standout performer.
The band immediately followed with another original titled “Javier’s Song,” the only song sung almost solely by Solozardo. His gravelly voice fit perfectly into this piece, and his subtle but firm handle of the bass was a constant throughout the band’s entire set.
Tankersley certainly hit his stride during the band’s performance of “Too Hot to Hold.” His voice, reminiscent of quintessential early 2000s rock singers like Gerard Way, coupled with the energy of the band, gives the audience members the immersive rock experience they were looking for.
However, Jameson Tank’s performance stagnated around the final third with their performances of their original songs “Fight Fair” and “Heavy Dependence.” Though the lead guitar was solid, the song’s lyrics were lacking and uninteresting, with “Fight Fair” even sounding like a knock off background FIFA 15 song at times.
The band’s performance was peppered with covers, and though the songs were eminently recognizable to audience members and thus garnered some applause, it was ultimately clear that many did not fit with the band’s aesthetic. Nowhere was this more clear than in their rendition of A-Ha’s “Take on Me,” which requires a vocal range that neither Tankersley nor Solozardo possessed, though it was a compelling effort.
For their penultimate song, the band performed a cover of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.” While initially eliciting much excitement from the audience, the execution was ultimately rather disappointing. Though the band’s insistence on playing covers outside of their chosen genre — and thus comfort zone — is admirable, it often leads to an inadvertent exhibition of the band’s flaws, which seem to be most notably their limited ability to execute such genre versatility.
The band ended their performance with a bang — Jameson Tank original “No Bad Days.”
“This song is for nights like these,” said Tankersley, introducing the song with what felt like a heartfelt address to the audience.
With this piece, the band found its stride once again, showcasing their exceptional sound for the last time that night. It was the perfect song to end their show with — Tankersley’s voice blending perfectly with Solozardo’s expert guitar riffs.
Despite some odd choices in covers, and some mediocre original songs, Jameson Tank’s performance still had many merits. There is no denying the talent of the individual members of the band and their ability to create a unique sound together. Fans can await this band’s return to Charlottesville with excitement — they have a show at Crozet Pizza April 7, and at St Anthony Hall Fraternity April 8. There is much potential for a future show with an even more unique sound, and perhaps a modified setlist.