James – Brixton Academy

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Why this gig?

I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for James. I’ve never bought their albums but I’m constantly surprised how many of their singles I love – right back to the original version of “Sit Down” which was on heavy rotation on Greater London Radio (best radio station ever – still sadly missed) many years ago.

I saw them at the Brixton Academy eighteen months ago and really enjoyed it, so when I saw they were returning to the same venue I really wanted to be there.

Support

The support were Starsailor and that’s another reason for wanting to go. I really loved Starsailor back in the day. Unfortunately I arrived at the venue rather later than I planned to which meant that a) I ended up with a rather rubbish seat far too far back in the balcony and b) Starsailor were already halfway through their set and I missed them playing “Alcoholic” and “Poor Misguided Fool”. What I saw was very good though and I’d love the chance to see them again at some point.

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Not sure it it was my rubbish seat, but this show didn’t seem to have the excitement or power of previous James gigs I’ve been to. Or perhaps it was the fact that this time they had a new album to promote and that wasn’t the case last time. Last time I felt that two-thirds of the material was from my Best of James compilation and this time the hits were a good deal fewer and farther between.

That’s not entirely a bad thing though. The band were on good form and the new songs all sounded pretty good. But it was, of course, the old favourites (“Sound”, “Laid”, “Come Home”) that got the crowd most excited. Tim Booth is a great frontman for a band and he really knows how to work a crowd.

I’d still recommend a night out at a James show. They are always great fun.

The setlist is on Setlist.fm.

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