Saturday 8 June 2024

James - Glasgow OVO Hydro - 7th June 2024

James brought their tour to support their number one album to the cavernous space of Glasgow’s Hydro and 12,000 hungry excited Glaswegians. Capturing the mood of the night perfectly with both the performance and setlist they mixed the new and old in just the right measure to get an ecstatic response.

Glasgow James gigs are always interesting. Tim quoted 550 people being thrown out of the gig last time they played here during the soundcheck and he’s stopped slower songs here in the past because of a lack of attention. With a new album featuring heavily in the set and a Friday night atmosphere it could have gone either way but both band and audience were on top form. Joy resonated from the stage to the audience and was magnified in its reflection back.

They start with the Whiplash duo She’s A Star and Tomorrow and immediately the atmosphere feels red-hot and celebratory. The band look completely at ease and feed off the audience’s response. Our World is the first of a trio off Yummy, described by Tim as being about “the fucked up world” and is given a really strong reception. It’s followed by a first ever performance of Rogue, its quick-fire lyrics keeping the pace up whilst Life’s A Fucking Miracle gets a huge roar as Tim ventures down to the barrier for closer communication. 

He does ask for more consideration if he’s risking his neck as a delicate 64 year old coming out into the crowd. It’s prophetic as he’s dropped as he crowdsurfs during Waltzing Along after a triumphant ecstatic Born Of Frustration. Out of potential disaster comes a unique moment of wandering through the front rows and climbing back over the barrier. It fuels a glorious Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) where Debbie, Saul, Adrian and Chloe congregate and feed off each other.

James then take it down with a song that Tim tells us demands “respect and attention” Shadow Of A Giant is resplendent with violin and cello and the most delicious harmonies from Chloe and the choir. It moves into a violin intro to Five-O from Saul that’s show-stopping and intense and the song builds and soars.

Better With You is glorious, they’ve captured the real essence of the recorded version and the lift halfway through as it soars into the skies in an expression of love. It’s followed by another more familiar one Just Like Fred Astaire which sees Tim out in the crowd surfing more successfully.

The unmistakeable intro to Sit Down kicks in and the whole room erupts as one in a big communal celebration. It drops down and the audience take it from them leaving Tim crouched down in awestruck wonder. It’s followed by Mobile God and its stunning visuals, using the megaphone gives it a harder edge in the verses and allows the chorus an even greater lift as human turns ti cyborg and back to human on the screens.

The main set finishes with Sometimes and whatever the band do between shows has totally revitalised it. Adrian’s solo draws people towards him to watch his unassuming magic take place. The choir are brought front and centre and given the lead role at the end which gives the crowd permission to take it away for themselves. As it finishes Jim punches the air as exhilarated as the rest of us by what he’s just been part of.

Way Over Your Head is a soothing optimistic encore opener with a screen full of colourful butterflies, one of Yummy’s revelations. Beautiful Beaches feels immovable right now, the energy so powerful and enthralling and characteristic of James at their very best. Debbie’s smile at the end tells us everything.

The night finishes as it started with a duo of James’ best loved songs. Come Home dates all the way back to their first performances at iconic Glasgow venues like the Barrowland in the early 1990s and was a staple across next door at the SECC whilst Laid sends the expectant audience out into the cold Glasgow night buzzing after a final three minute adrenaline rush.

Often Glasgow gigs fail to live up the billing that the more vocal elements of the city's music following place on them. Tonight though they proved that when the mood is right it's one of the best places in the world to watch a gig. Even the parochial nonsense of "here we fucking go" that blights songs that it doesn't even work with is thankfully absent. James captured the mood in the room perfectly last night with a setlist that both stood by their ethos that all their music has equal value whether written yesterday or forty years ago but sagely acknowledging the size of the venue and the crowd. One of their best gigs for many years.

James played She’s A Star, Tomorrow, Our World, Rogue, Life’s A Fucking Miracle, Born Of Frustration, Waltzing Along, Getting Away With It (All Messed Up), Shadow Of A Giant, Five-O, Better With You, Just Like Fred Astaire, Sit Down, Mobile God, Sometimes, Way Over Your Head, Beautiful Beaches, Come Home and Laid

James tour at Leeds First Direct Arena (June 8), Cardiff Utilita Arena (11), Birmingham Utilita Arena (12), Manchester CO-OP Live (14), London O2 Arena (15), Lisbon Rock In Rio (22), Bedford Summer Sessions (July 6), Lytham Festival (7), Stornoway Hebcelt Festival (19), Ludlow Castle (25), Scarborough Open Air Theatre (26), Kingston Prism (August 23, two shows), Powderham Castle Gone Wild Festival (24), Dublin Collins Barracks (26), Thessaloniki Earth Theatre (September 3), Athens Lycabettus Theatre (5), Brazil Rock In Rio (September 14), Denver Paramount Theatre (17), Vancouver Queen Elizabeth Theatre (20), Seattle Moore Theatre (21), Portland McMenamins Crystal Ballroom (22), San Francisco The Garfield (23), Los Angeles Orpheum Theatre (25/26), Austin Stubb's (29), Dallas Majestic Theatre (30), Houston Bayou Music Center (October 1), Atlanta The Eastern (3), New Orleans The Fillmore (4), Washington Warner Theatre (6), Brooklyn Paramount (8), Boston Orpheum (10), Philadelphia Franklin Music Hall (11), Montreal MTLEUS (13), Toronto History (14), Detroit Masonic Temple (15), Chicago Riviera (17) and Saint Paul Palace Theatre (18).

James' official website can be found here. They are on Facebook and Twitter.  Some of the band - TimAndy and Dave - are also on Twitter.

We also run the One Of The Three James archive, the most detailed resource for information about the band, and the site also has a Facebook and Twitter page.

TimBoothLyricADay, whose posts often lead to Tim explaining his thought processes behind the lyrics, can be found on Twitter and Facebook

Razorlight's official site can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter.


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