Adele, Academy, Leeds
Jim Jones Revue, Concorde 2, Brighton

That Adele has achieved soul diva status says more about us than it does about this 'daahn-to-erff' chart phenomenon

Adele Adkins ambles on to a stage decorated with dozens of chintzy lampshades, made from the skins of other, better singers. She perches on a stool. She shakes her Croydon-facelift ponytail. And she cackles a Catherine-Tate-granny cackle. "It's so good to be in the fackin' UK!"

Take the temperature of lower-middlebrow Britain right now, and it will read simply Adele. For better or worse, this is what we've come to. Adele is the soul singer of choice for people who find Alan Carr and Keith Lemon funny, whose favourite fashion designers are Ed Hardy and Bench, and who thought Nick Clegg came over rather well in the election debates. And there are millions of them, enough to send her albums 19 quadruple platinum and 21 septuple platinum (the latter has only been out three months).

There's something about Adele that makes people warm to her. It cannot just be her unremarkable, medium-husky, forceful but featureless voice, an unlovely blare that all but drowns out her backing band. It's like being shouted at for an hour.

Could it be her material? Everyone around me sings along from the heart, but I'm baffled. "Chasing Pavements" is a song and a half, no question, and the shivers I get when she performs it can't be explained away by the fact that I'm standing directly beneath the air-con. And "Right As Rain" has an enjoyable lightness of touch, I suppose. But besides that, what have you got? A couple of superfluous Cure and Dylan covers, and a whole load of focus-grouped mush.

No, I think it's that people actually like her. Which is, in a way, the scariest part of all. I know she hasn't actually done anything wrong, and because of her lack of airs and graces, and because there's no apparent distinction between her persona and personality, any attack on Adele feels a bit like stamping on a puppy. It's just that she's a little uncouth. "I know it sounds epic," she says regarding the song "Set Fire to the Rain", continuing "but it's actually about the time my ex-boyfriend said I was useless 'cos my lighter wouldn't work. Wot a cant!"

Maybe that's what people go for nowadays. I'm certainly not arguing that every female singer needs to be a prim little Petula Clark, nor an elusive Kate Bush, nor possessed of Bassey-like levels of star quality. But must Adele be quite this daahn-to-erff? She may be the stereotypical girl down the pub, but you'd move to another table.

She ends the first night of her current victory lap by encoring with "Someone Like You", her performance of which at the Brit Awards seems to have been officially canonised as one of that ceremony's all-time greats, a whole generation apparently having its Sinead O' Connor "Nothing Compares 2 U" moment. But it left me shrugging. Not since Alexandros of Antioch put down his chisels and said "Yep, I think that's done, I just hope the arms hold up" has such a lot of fuss been made over someone standing completely still.

Twenty-two years ago, Jim Jones wanted to kill me. In another lifetime, as a junior hack on Melody Maker, I went to see his psych-rockers Thee Hypnotics at Islington's long-defunct Powerhaus, my interest piqued by a sprawling nine-minute monster they'd just released called "Justice in Freedom".

My review was cursory and dismissive, and probably involved an unflattering comparison with Jim Morrison, with some idealistic youthful rhetoric about the evils of retro rock and the necessity of futurism. Word reached me that I'd better watch my back.

Two decades on, and for one reason or another – maybe I've changed, maybe the culture has – the battlelines have shifted, and retro rock no longer feels like the enemy (at least, not automatically so). We are not at war with Eurasia. We have never been at war with Eurasia. And Jones's new band, the shamelessly old-fashioned Jim Jones Revue, feel like the most vital and of-the-moment thing you could possibly go and see right now.

A messianic moptop on a mission, the testifying figure of Jones comes on like a rock'n'roll version of his Kool Aid-peddling cult leader namesake, while the Revue, all Brylcreem and black leather, knock out blast after irresistible blast of barrel-room boogie-woogie and razor-sharp rockabilly that bypasses the brain and heads straight for the hips.

There are elements of Screaming Lord Sutch, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dr Feelgood, Little Richard (they've been known to cover his "Hey Hey Hey Hey") and, above all Motorhead. The live mix, captured admirably on record by Jim Sclavunos (Bad Seeds/Grinderman), is a real case of everything-louder-than-everything-else and, powering through the mayhem, a voice that has the elemental, force-of-nature ferocity of Noddy Holder in full flight.

There's a riotous version of Elvis Presley's "Big Hunk O' Love" tonight, but JJR's own material blows the covers clean away. The song with which they end, "The Princess and the Frog", gives that fairy tale a filthy-minded undercurrent the Brothers Grimm surely never intended: "Well, she had him in her hand, she started to kiss/She said ... oooh, what is this growing in my hand?"

Jim Jones Revue are improbable and ridiculous, anachronistic and outdated, and completely and utterly brilliant.

Next Week:

Simon Price catches up with Swedish nutcase Lykke Li and the newly mellow Metronomy

Rock & Pop Choice

Cockney knees-up merchants Chas & Dave play what purports to be their last London gig at the Indigo2 (Mon); with further farewell shows at Kettering's Lighthouse Theatre (Sun); The Stables in Milton Keynes (Wed); Cromer's Pier Pavilion Theatre (Thu); Brighton's Komedia (Fri); and the Isle of Wight's Shanklin Theatre (Sat).

Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
musicReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Arts and Entertainment
‘Dawn of Planet of the Apes’ also looks set for success in the Chinese market

film
News
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight

tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
A waxwork of Jane Austen has been unveiled at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath

books
Arts and Entertainment
Britney Spears has been caught singing without Auto-Tune

music
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
    Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

    Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

    The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
    Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

    Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

    The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

    Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

    Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

    Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

    The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
    The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

    The Open 2014

    Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?