I feel stupid writing this post to introduce people to a tv show that has been on the air for more than fifteen years (according to Wikipedia), but no one I’ve mentioned it to has known what I was talking about. Earlier this week I woke up to discover a marathon of a show called “Later… with Jools Holland” on a cable station I never even knew I had called Ovation TV. It’s channel 155 on my Comcast Digital Cable. Not that that information helps you necessarily. Halfway through the first episode of this program I became unbelievably jealous of British people who have been able to watch this show for almost two decades on BBC 2.
If you’ve never seen it, the stage of the show is a giant circle with about five bands set up around it and a camera in the middle. The studio audience is seated in between and behind the bands. The show opens with all of the bands playing a short jam together while the camera spins around showing off the set up and who will be performing that evening. From there, Jools Holland introduces the first band who typically performs their latest song.
Here’s a clip to show you what I’m trying to describe:
After the first band finishes, the next band immediately starts. For the next hour it’s just one song after another by all of the bands. Once in awhile Jools will interview one of the headliners, but that’s the only break from the music.
And the bands that I caught in the last few days are amazing and varied from headliners like Pearl Jam, Coldplay, Metallica, Snow Patrol and Tom Jones to bands I love like The Who and The Hold Steady. There were world music acts from Africa and folk artists and everyone is talented… oh plus former Catwoman Eartha Kitt and Jamie Foxx. Yeah it’s crazy and I loved it.
Here’s an awesome clip:
In case you didn’t know it, Jools Holland spent the eighties in the band Squeeze, which you know for the song “Tempted.”
Considering all of the stupid shows the U.S. has imported from Britain and remade (Coupling, any Simon Cowell production, the Office), it kills me that there doesn’t seem to be a market here for an American version of this show. It just shows how dead rock is in the United States right now.
Support Ovation TV and this show.
There are YouTube clips for basically every good successful band ever playing this show. Check them out if you get bored.