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Manchester G-mex

December 19, 2008

1 out of 5 2 out of 5 3 out of 5 4 out of 5 5 out of 5

by Mongomery Clift

"We want more, we want more," chanted the crowd - after the 3 track encore.  James shrugged apologetically - we haven't got any more planned - waved & made to exit stage - but the crowd wouldn't have it;  back they came for an extra track & thus concluded Manchester's gig of the year........

We knew something was up when things started on a giant screen but no band visible.  The atmospheric opener 'Lose Control' was increasing in volume & then some realised the sound was approaching from the back of the hall.  Like a Mexican wave, the crowd twisted & strained to see Tim Booth and band weaving their way, via security guards & a hand-held spotlight, to the front - hands reaching in unison, to touch his bald napper!  By the time the stage was reached, the song was just about finished, to smoothly rip into 'She's a Star' and then you knew this would be something special, as everyone around - oldies, youngies, families, drunks - belted it out.

The gig had something for everyone: songs of nostalgia, like 'Gold Mother' (from James' 1st album), songs with meaning like 'Bubbles' (about the birth of Tim's child) and 'Upside' (about missing loved ones) and songs of quirkiness & power, that make James distinct from other bands (like 'Sound').

Booth is a distinctive front man - wooing the audience with manic Ian Curtis-like dancing, climbing into the audience to be held by doting fans for the duration of 'Born of Frustration' and 'Say Something.' But despite his high profile, this was not a night for egos; the band took it in turns to do the cat-walk: guitarist in white suit, trumpet player in red dress!, drummer to deservedly receive crowd's applause, or to strut their stuff on a high elevated platform, overseeing the stage - the white suit with angel wings & electronic violin, a robotic suited dancer (for 'Tomorrow') and that crazy red-dessed, sunglass-wearing trumpeter again - the foundation of the James sound.

The famous 'Sit Down' started acoustically, carried on at medium pace and then all erupted into the expected riot. Which other band would allow a dozen or so fans on stage for the finale? - 'Laid' - to strut, bop and jig away to those well known lines, in a samba-style version of the song.  James care about their audience.  They are always entertaining, owing to sing-along, belt-out-loud, classic after classic track -  which, on this night, created an unforgettable buzz and allowed the gig to resonate in your head for days after. 




This review is the subjective opinion of the individual reviewer and not of ConcertBuzz

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Rating: 2.3/5 (59 votes cast)

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