Tag Archives: The Armada

Interview with Jeff Martin (The Tea Party/The Armada)

By: Ben Hosking
Jeff Martin[Click here to listen to the audio version of this interview]

Jeff Martin (JM) spent 15 years fronting iconic Canadian rock group The Tea Party before leaving the country to escape the band’s ‘acrimonious’ split. While holed up in Ireland he embarked upon a successful solo career and met percussionist Wayne Sheehy – a chance meeting that later spawned The Armada, with multi-instrumentalist Jay Cortez.

Now an Australian resident, Jeff embarks upon a fresh tour of Australia in May, where he plans to road test some of his new material that will be recorded later this year. Ben Hosking from Lifemusicmedia.com (LMM) caught up with the enigmatic musical gypsy to chat about his upcoming live Armada CD/DVD set, the tour, potential Tea Party reunions and his friendship with Jimmy Page.
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Jeff Martin (The Tea Party/The Armada) – “The Ground Cries Out” Australian National Tour April/May 2010

Following the success of his recent Australian tour with The Armada and exceptional performances at WOMADelaide and Canadian Music Week, JEFF MARTIN (formerly of The Tea Party) is set to embark on a national tour this April/May, bringing fellow Armada multi-instrumentalist J Cortez (ex-Sleepy Jackson) along for the ride.
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Live Review – JEFF MARTIN & THE ARMADA @ The Hi-Fi, Brisbane 10 May 2009

Review by Stephen Goodwin for Life Music Media
Photo: Stuart Blythe
Armada - Jeff MartinArmadas, historically, take a long time to build. It’s something to do with the size of the whole endeavour. On the evidence of tonight’s outing at the Hi-Fi Bar in Brisbane, Jeff Martin’s version – like the venue itself – still needs a few rough edges knocked off before it can truly take on the world.

Even early, the omens are there. Punters are forced to mill impatiently in the street outside the Hi-Fi long past the advertised opening time. Then, after doors open, the wait for psych-blues tie-dye standard-bearers Black Boards Mind feels interminable.

When they do appear, the Fremantle-based five-piece compound matters by seeming determined to turn in a trainwreck. Maybe it’s nerves, but jarringly out-of-sync vocals utterly destroy the first song and a half.

Eventually their sound begins to cohere, the vocals acquiring a straining nasal twang not too dissimilar to the Vasco Era’s Sid O’Neil. But even combined, Black Board Minds’ trio of vocalists possess nowhere near the Melbourne bluesman’s live-wire charisma. Song progression – characterised by a mushy bass-heavy sound that lacks any subtlety – feels equally leaden. The tambourinist’s creditable impression of the energiser bunny says it all: a manic distraction, it only serves to emphasise the act’s rawness.

Staring at Jeff Martin’s guitar rig, one entertains the possibility that it may contain more pedals than there are punters at the Hi-Fi tonight. And that’s not a dig at the crowd size – there’s plenty of the latter.

Martin’s admission during some mid-set technical issues – “it’s like trying to work the space shuttle up here” – feels like tacit validation, and one gets the feeling this massive contraption is the culprit of the early evening delays, and a longer-than-usual wait during the interval.

The downside of these delays is the flaccidness of the crowd. Curiously detached even as the band take up their instruments, they never seem to click with the band. Consequently, there’s too little of the energising feedback that can propel a “merely” good performance into something truly memorable.

For some musical styles, it’s irrelevant. But with the Armada squarely aiming for rock bombast, it’s a limiting factor.

The good news is that Martin and band are clearly “up for it”. It’s little short of jaw-dropping to simply watch skinsman Wayne P Sheehy’s pummelling drumwork. The intensity of sound is a whole order of magnitude more devastating.

Watching Martin, one is torn between appreciating his rich, pitch-perfect baritone, and admiring the almost-arrogant casualness with which he can pause and rip out a fiery solo. And, to the delight of the guitar nerds near the front, he does this often.

All the while man-mountain bassist Jay Cortez anchors the show with unflappable calm.

Several Tea Party tracks wedge themselves into the set, but the evening’s highlights draw themselves almost exclusively from The Armada’s self-titled debut. The sheer immenseness of opener Morrocco. The poignancy of Line in the Sand – even if the nuance-for-power trade-off is clearly felt compared to the “Live at the Corner” rendition. And the demented slide wizardry of Black Snake Blues, complete with a Led Zep excursion into Whole Lotta Love.

One exception is Winter Solstice, the Splendor Solis instrumental forming an spine-tingling acoustic one-two as it segues into new cut The Rosary.

After roughly 90 minutes, with The Armada closing out with another Tea Party staple Save Me, one is left with no doubt that the band has all the elements – strong songs and incredibly talented personnel. Once they iron out the kinks, they may just go on to conquer the world. Unlike the Spanish version.

Set-list

Morocco
Chinese Whispers
Overload
Line in the Sand
Broken
Coming Home
Kingdom
Winter Solstice/The Rosary
Black Snake Blues
Cathartik
Closure
Invocation
Closing Down Blues

Save Me

Bands: The Armada – www.thearmada.com
Black Board Minds
Venue: The Hi-Fi Bar, Brisbane – www.thehifi.com.au
Date: May 10, 2009

Related:
Photo Gallery: JEFF MARTIN & THE ARMADA @ The Hi-Fi, Brisbane 10 May 2009
JEFF MARTIN & THE ARMADA @ The Hi-Fi, Brisbane 10 May 2009 and May 2009 Tour Dates
The East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival Byron Bay – BluesFest 2008 – images including Jeff Martin

Photo Gallery | JEFF MARTIN & THE ARMADA @ The Hi-Fi, Brisbane | 10 May 2009

JEFF MARTIN & THE ARMADA @ The Hi-Fi, Brisbane 10 May 2009
Photographer: Stuart Blythe

Click the image below to view photo gallery…
Jeff Martin
[Photo: Stuart Blythe]

Related:
JEFF MARTIN & THE ARMADA tour dates
A ‘Must See’ show… don’t miss it!… LifeMusicMedia

JEFF MARTIN & THE ARMADA @ The Hi-Fi, Brisbane 10 May 2009

JEFF MARTIN & THE ARMADA
Jeff Martin
[Photo: Jacinta Mathews]

*** LifeMusicMedia Photo Gallery: JEFF MARTIN & THE ARMADA @ The Hi-Fi, Brisbane 10 May 2009 ***
The Armada will celebrate the national release of their Eastern- fueled, Zeppelin-stained self-titled debut with a short run of launch shows around the country this May.

The Armada features “ferocious drumming demon” Wayne Sheehy (Robert Palmer, Ronnie Wood) Martin’s partner in crime, from Cork, Ireland whom he recorded the album with in 2008. The record was finished at “analogue wonderland” Poons Head studios in Perth, WA towards the end of 2008 and will be in Australian shops on Saturday May 2.

The Armada is a very big, dark, Satanic, sexual rock show, and I love that, it’s a big part of my personality.” says Martin. “The feedback has been amazing, from Tea Party fans and new fans. The Armada did a trial run in Australia in November, and you’d think that the audience for my music would get older. But there was young people everywhere — 20-year-olds getting into it and digging it because it’s just great rock ‘n’ roll music.”
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