James at the Electric Ballroom
After over an hour’s tedious wait in the packed auditorium of Camden Town’s Electric Ballroom, the seven band members of rock band James entered the stage and launched the evening’s show with a rendition of the moody Walk Like You, intro track from their new, 14th album La Petite Mort.
The band’s roots and reputation as a first-rate live act was left untarnished by the impressive quality of the performance, which, according to lead singer Tim Booth, had not been fully rehearsed. In fact, before beginning the poetic Interrogation (another piece from the new album) he was obliged to pull out his iPad and look up the lyrics. The talented guitarist and violinist Sam Davies halted the others at one point in order to tune to perfection his 12-string electric guitar.
The audience’s patience with the show’s small series of hiccups was repaid with a beautifully played concert that featured a selection of hits from the band’s last 30 years, including 1993’s university dorm favourite Laid, Come Home from their self-titled 1991 album, and the epic Sound – one of their best tracks of all, which rounded off the evening alongside new piece Moving On that the audience happily sang along to.
Every now and then Tim would stop singing and begin shaking and dancing spasmodically as if hit by a religious trance. The high-octane evening left the spectators energised, and the resulting cries for an encore were rewarded by the band playing the melodic Say Something, 2001’s Getting Away with It and Curse Curse, about being in a hotel room while listening to a couple next door making love. As if the extra trio of songs wasn’t enough, the audience, still not sated, carried on cheering until the group re-emerged a third time to cool the fans with the tranquil, mellow track Top of the World.
The only disappointing omission was Born of Frustration, perhaps their most famous hit from the 1992 album Seven, but this is a band with a long string of interesting and colourful songs that have become classics of the rock-music radio stations. Although labelled as an “alternative-rock” band, their music appeals to those who are not followers of the scene, and even those who may not have heard of James before will undoubtedly be rallied into fandom after witnessing a live performance.
Photos: Andrei Grosu
For further information and future events visit James’s website here.
Watch the video for Moving On here: