MANCHESTER VETERANS JAMES BRING THEIR INTIMATE TOUR TO BLACKBURN IN SUPPORT OF NEW EP ‘BETTER THAN THAT’
An eagerly awaiting crowd was packed into King George’s Hall in Blackburn, to first of all enjoy the support of Newcastle based Lanterns On The Lake. The 5 piece indie rockers – including Hazel Wilde on vocals – went down well, warming the masses up nicely for the headliners which were soon to follow.
James have a long career behind them, having been formed in 1982. The line up has seen many incarnations over the years, however more recently they have settled with Tim Booth on vocals, Jim Glennie on bass, Adrian Oxaal and Saul Davies on guitars, Mark Hunter on keyboards, Andy Diagram on percussion and trumpet and David Baynton-Power at the back on the drums. They made it big around the early 90s when the Madchester phenomenon took over British music, and coincided with the release of their 1990 album Gold Mother and the hit singles ‘Come Home’, ‘Lose Control’ and ‘Sit Down’.
Tonight though was about the new music, with only five or six of the 21 track set list familiar to the routine, everyday James music fan. Compared with setlists from other nights on the tour, this would be the only complaint – a few more better known hits would have been perfect, however this didn’t detract from the music played on the night.
Starting off with ‘Hank’ and ‘To My Surprise’, Booth commented about the newer songs, and suggested anyone there just to hear ‘Sit Down’ should take the opportunity to leave now! And he wasn’t joking, with the track a glaring omission from the evening’s music. ‘Gone Baby Gone’ and ‘Heads’ followed before ‘Ring The Bells’ from the 1992 album Seven, which got the crowd on their feet.
Booth’s interaction with the crowd was as usual very up close and personal, occasionally leaving the confines of the stage to come and mingle with the front row, and eventually joining them in a crowd surf around the hall whilst singing ‘How Was It For You?’, ably supported by the fine people of Blackburn in body and in voice.
New single (and tour title) ‘Better Than That’ came towards the end of the set along with the storming ‘Come Home’, the crowd erupting with the band standing at the end to an ovation they lavished in. After a short break they returned to the stage to play an encore of ‘Sometimes’, ‘Getting Away With It’ and the classic ‘Laid’ to close the show, the packed crowd left the venue drained but happy. Tonight’s show was top notch, the band were on form and gave their all.