Concert Review: Psychedelic Furs and James, July 31, The Orpheum, Vancouver

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Psychedelic Furs

Co-headlining tours are always funny ones, as you get half the audience really interested in one band and half the audience really interested in the other. Last night, unfortunately, the Orpheum was only half full, so you had a little less than a quarter of the seats filled with James fans and a little over a quarter filled with Psychedelic Furs fans. I’m not sure why this gig wasn’t at a smaller venue – it would have been perfect at the Commodore Ballroom.

James came on first, and performed a set of material mostly from albums they have recorded since they reformed in 2007. They sounded tight and Tim Booth’s voice has not lost any of its power. It was disappointing to not hear more of the old favourites, “Come Home” being the only song they played from back in the day. It sounded fantastic, and only made it more disappointing that they didn’t play one or two more. They finished with “Getting Away With It (All Messed Up)”, their last single before they broke up. They invited audience members up on to the stage, with 30 or so people joining them. It was a great end to the show, but without “Sit Down”, “Laid”, “She’s A Star”, “Gold Mother” or “Born of Frustration”, the audience were left feeling a little frustrated.

Psychedelic Furs were the opposite. They started with “Love My Way” and played hit after hit, including “Heaven” and “Pretty In Pink”. Bassist and founding member Tim Butler even sang along with the crowd to the big tunes. Singer Richard Butler’s voice was as clear and powerful as ever, and the saxophone player, Mars Williams, played his sax like a lead guitarist, powering through tune after tune, and he was even joined by James’ trumpet player on “Sleep Comes Down”. The audience were mostly of an age where they would remember both bands from the heyday of their career, but what the audience lacked in youth, they made up for in enthusiasm.

The Furs did a short encore and the crowd left happy – the one good thing about the theatre not being very full is you get out of there super quick without much of a queue!

Song of the Day: James – Moving On

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30 years in and James is still producing great pop tunes with ridiculously catchy anthemic choruses. What’s their formula? I’ll never know. This track is a song off their new record, La Petit Mort. The album doesn’t deviate from the standard James sound, which is comforting. I don’t really expect them to change much these days. Let’s hope they tour live soon.

Song of the Day: James – Moving On

Posted on by Ricky in Song of the Day | Leave a comment


You know, it’s funny they ran Britpop nostalgia week a few weeks ago on BBC when there are clearly still some bands from that era going strong. Manic Street Preachers have a new album out this year, Gruff Rhys and Damon Albarn just released solo records and then there’s James. The Manchester band has never really stopped making quality music (save for a few years in the 2000’s) and will have 14th(!) album this year. The lead single is Moving On and has some typical James traits – soaring choruses, uplifting vocals and a wonderful sax bit. It’s enough to get you excited for the new release, which will hopefully be followed by a North American tour. Check it out!

Concert Review: James, December 10, Brixton Academy

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London – Seeing a band twice in two nights is always something I’ve always questioned, mainly because it’s a lot to handle for two consecutive nights. You know most of the songs are going to be the same, but you are always hoping for something different the second night that would make paying twice for a band worth it. For the record, here are the bands I’ve seen on consecutive nights so far in my live:

SXSW 2009 – Late of the Pier, second show featured a fight between the band and the security guards
NXNE 2009 – Matt and Kim, saw them twice in one night. They are always awesome
Teenage Fanclub, September 2010 – Second show’s set list was much better then the first

So Friday night marked the second time I saw James in two nights, and third time I saw them for this tour (I saw them in September in Toronto). For the first time ever, I wasn’t completely through the roof after their show.

Let’s first talk about the Brixton Academy. What a venue! It think it has one of the best interior designs I’ve seen at a venue. The floor is on a slope, so everyone has a good view and the design of the venue makes it seem like a Greek or Roman amphitheater from back in the day. Highly approved. Here’s apic of the interior, by some random person.

As previous mentioned, James guitarist Larry Gott was hospitalized on Wednesday for undisclosed reasons, so with that in mind, the band took the opportunity to test the crowd with some of the newer and more mellow material early in the set. Songs off the new double albums – The Night Before/The Morning After were played. The new songs translated live rather well, especially Dust Motes and Tell Her I Said So, the latter a song Tim Booth wrote about his mother.

However, a James concert is a James concert, perhaps it’s a bit of a trap, but the fans were there to hear the hits, and it wasn’t until the opening “WOO WOO WOOO WOO WOOOOOO” of Born of Frustrations that the crowd started to go a little nuts. Arms were in the air, people were singing along. Getting Away with It, the crowd pleaser from 2001’s Pleased to Meet You soon followed. I thought the concert was going along swimmingly.

I guess it’s might be a combination of five shows in six nights, a week of shows and partying or the fact that I heard most of the songs the night before, but the James show did not take off for me as it had just 24 hours prior – songs like Johnny Yen and Jam J I enjoy, but not enough for them to give me to go nuts for it two nights in a row. I thought the middle section of the set was a bit of a lull.

The beginning of the acoustic version of Sit Down started off the greatest hits section which was to lead to the end of the show. Sit Down will always be great, just for the sheer fact it’s rare to see so many people sing along to a song and losing their shit at the same time. A series of hits ended off the show – Laid, Ring the Bells, Stutter, Sound and Sometimes.

All in all, the show was good. They are such a polished band live and always provide moments. Tim Booth’s crowd surf/singing at the same time was pretty epic and at the same time, must have been hilariously awkward. The band’s chemistry on stage is something that I think any band would want and they are a band that genuinely wants to get the crowd as excited as possible. Perhaps I was expecting too much out of the show. James has put on absolutely great shows every time I saw them prior, so I might of had exceedingly high expectations for them. I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to hear Fred Astaire, Come Home or Destiny Calling either night, but I guess when you have such a massive back catalog, specific songs are hard to come by.

The crowd was one of the most enthusiastic I’ve seen, there was a large mosh pit in the middle of the stage and let me tell you, a mosh pit consisting of mostly aging Brits is not that great. Maybe it’s their banger and mash/meat pie diets, but man, those people are quite beefy and well, I’m not.

All in all, I still enjoyed the show, it wasn’t mind blowing, but in the end, you can’t go wrong with a James show.

Dust Motes.
Dream Thrum.
Tell Her I Said So.
It’s Hot.
Born Of Frustration.
Getting Away With It (All Messed Up).
Johnny Yen.
Rabbit Hole.
Bring A Gun.
Jam J.
Don’t Wait That Long.
Out To Get You.
Sit Down.
Ring The Bells.
I Wanna Go Home.