The fifteen-piece jam band Jesus On The Mainline are poised to become one of the biggest bands in New York, delivering their unique blend of blues, soul, funk, jazz and bluegrass to eager hipster audiences around the city. A sold-out Mercury Lounge crowd found themselves transported to a bygone musical era channeling tinges of Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker and Stevie Wonder. For them, music-making seems to be about going onstage as much for themselves as for their audience, and reveling in the joy of hearing each other play. Inasmuch as it is fun to watch them enjoy performing, Jesus on the Mainline make sophisticated and wonderful music.
Frontman Andrew Neesley’s background in contemporary jazz lends a progressive and adventurous sensibility to the band’s arrangements. A full horn section, two drummers, keyboards, guitar, bass and even banjo allow Jesus On The Mainline to flow from style to style, giving them an expressive flexibility to explore a host of different music. Perhaps the most memorable offering of the night was a heart-stopping ten-minute cover of Nirvana’s “Lithium” led by backup singer Mel Flannery. One senses that the talent of this band runs very deep as solos bounce across the stage, one more heated than the next. On the night of the launch of their new EP, Jesus On The Mainline never let their energy falter for a second. The band is primed to thrill audiences everywhere as they preach the gospel of their self-titled debut.
– Eric Russ