8/2/97 NME.COM LIVE REVIEW: JAMES �


JAMES
London Camden Dingwalls

"... Five years ago, this secret warm-up gig would have been the equivalent of Oasis playing the Bournemouth Toad & Ramspizzle. But tonight, James' first British gig in almost five years is a frenzy of nostalgia, an undisputably legendary EVENT that's arrived a musical generation too late. Tim Booth probably hasn't set foot in a venue this tiny since 1988, for a start. Plus there's a new guitarist, Adrian, to break in, two years of on-the-road mental mayhem to smooth over and a fanbase with the memory span of goldfish to shake out of daydreams. James play Dingwalls as if it's the really big field next door to Knebworth. Only the most chantable anthems - 'Come Home', 'Laid', 'Sometimes' - are shot full of enough reborn vigour to break windows in Carlisle. Only their most goosebump-inducing slowie 'Out To Get You' is allowed to let the pace drop below breakneck. And only the most chart-tapered new songs are unveiled: the wispy yet sublime new single 'She's A Star', a loutish shoutathon beauty called 'Lost A Friend' and the rollicking pop genius of 'Tomorrow'.

Until Song Ten. An old '70s Top Of The Pops microphone is placed beside Tim's usual one as if to say 'we hope you like our new direction'. 'Greenpeace' suddenly mutates from a sweet lullaby to the fluffy bunnies into a molten metal techno gabba-fest that bites hard on the cock of Beelzebub and Tim's off, whirling and thrashing like a 30-something Keith Flint. It's U2 in a shoebox and utterly magnificent. The crowd are stunned to silence. The bass drum is kicked to pieces. Exit one flustered drummer, leaving the band with no choice but to mop up what's left of our nostalgia glands with an impromptu acoustic jaunt through 'Sit Down' and the audience to defy the fact that this is The Gig That Time Forgot and melt into a big puddle."

Mark Beaumont


The complete reviews of
KULA SHAKER, JAMES and the
DINGWALLS BRATS SHOWCASES
feature in NME, February 8 ,
along with carefully considered, beer-soaked reports of the
NME VIBES NIGHT and the BRAT SHOWS.

© 1997 IPC MAGAZINES LIMITED ENGLAND