People often say how the BBC’s ‘Later with Jools Holland‘ used to be better, and that what passes for the show in the 2010s is a disappointing and watered down version of the once cutting-edge new music show. Their complaint is that the show has shifted its focus from showcasing underground acts to relying too heavily on popular mainstream performers. I’d argue that there never was a time when ‘Later’ was how these people imagined it to be, and that it’s always been a show used more as a vehicle for commercial acts than as a place to discover new music.
Photo via Pretty Complacent
It’s true that for the past few years, however, that the show has been exceptionally poor. A while ago there was often some quite daring and challenging bands booked to play the show, yet these times seem to be well and truly behind us and now the likes of Robbie Williams, Kings of Leon and The Killers all get spots on the show. All this wouldn’t hurt so much if some of the big performers actually put in great performances, but when it’s clear how horrible the Red Hot Chili Peppers sound live (check out this), you really start to question the show’s credibility. Whoever is currently in charge of the programming has forgotten an aspect of the show that drew genuine music fans to it. They NEVER book anything remotely interesting. It’s more than likely that after years of living in the London bubble, they no longer knows the difference between good and bad music, or the difference between right and wrong, or left and right for that matter. Challenged on this, they’d probably offer some lame excuse about how their hands are tied and ‘it’s not as straightforward as that‘, but whatever. Do your job properly and respect the viewers and yourself.
Perhaps the show needs reformatting? Aside from the room where Later is filmed (which seems well put together), is there anything worth keeping? This portly fella who walks at weird angles, Jools Holland, who is he?! I’ve watched countless interviews conducted by this confusing mess of a man where it’s obvious he has no idea who he’s talking to or the reason for the interview. If it wasn’t for the clipboard that he carries with him, which seems to contain information most people are able to store in their short-term memory, he would haven’t a clue what to do. Maybe he blew out his brains on drugs during the 80s. I could live with that excuse. But I don’t think this is the case – I think he’s just your average out-of-it jazz musician lacking the ability to care about anything that isn’t directly linked to the ‘boogie-woogie’ piano scene he’s such a big part of. How such a man so devoid of charisma was ever chosen to front a TV show is something that I hope one day will be addressed in a court of law.
Engaged in some boogie – what a guy. Photo via SabotageTimes
If my generation aren’t the ones to question this utter rubbish, then who will? Get rid of this show. Send Jools Holland off to a retirement home (I suppose he’s allowed a piano). Bin the awkward ‘jam’ session at the beginning of the show and scrap the interviews with washed up music ‘slebs hanging out in the crowd like it’s the last bar on earth who will listen to their drivel. Oh, and another thing – whilst we shouldn’t scrap the big acts altogether (they bring in the tasty viewing figures), let’s show them a little less sacred-cow reverence. I don’t have a great deal of interest in seeing these bands and performers, and I think the show should bit a little more picky, rather than inviting EVERY big performer who is working at the time. It’s not Top of the Pops (or is it?!).
Coldplay’s performance on the show last week is a good example of where the show is currently at. Coldplay are making the most irrelevant and downright awful music of their career, which is saying something given the scope of their musical legacy. Their performance on Later was forced and embarrassing and i’m amazed how people held back their laughs. Have a listen to the song below – their record company appears to have forced them to overhaul their sound to appeal more to teenage girls – what in god’s name is going on?!
Evidence enough that Later…with Jools Holland needs to be consigned to history. Music shows don’t have to be like this!