Support: Slow Readers Club
Seven months on from the original cancelled date we were back in Nottingham to see James, a band I may have seen once or twice before (actually this was the tenth time in total. I like this band).
The last time we were here was 5 years ago to see...well...James. I'm a creature of habit it seems. I don't often sit at concerts but there is no option at the Royal Centre. It's a very good venue, maybe lacking a bit on character but making up with excellent sound.
Tonight the Slow Readers Club were up first and played to a sizeable crowd. It was evident many had seen them before as they were met like returning heroes. They turned out to be one of the best bands I've seen play as support (and that really isn't meant to be damning with faint praise), they were very, very good. Download, stream or even, and this is radical, buy their music.
I'm not a fan of sitting at gigs, especially one where the lead singer can send the crowd of ageing men and women into a frenzy. A frenzy you ask? Well yes a frenzy, brought on by trying to copy Tim's easy to follow dance moves. Actually less of the 'ageing'. The great thing about the James family is the passion for the band is passed down the generations; sure enough there are people of all ages here, one of the younger members at the front even gets some ear plugs from Tim (maybe they don't quite appreciate the noise level yet but they will).
As expected, the set is heavy on the last two albums. That they happen to be rather excellent albums means there is very little feet shuffling...then again we were seated...except we weren't. Sitting at a James show? Don't be silly. It took three songs but when the first few bars of Getting Away with It were played the whole crowd got over their politeness and rose as one. Screw the people behind I thought...no matter...turns out they were standing all along.
No two James set lists are ever the same. Here they opened with To My Surprise...well they actually start it three times before getting it right. It really wouldn't be a James gig without some 'technical hitches'. It, like this rescheduled show, is worth the wait though.
Dear John and Surfer's Song have never sounded better and of the new songs are probably the stand out here for me. Of the older stuff She's A Star and Tomorrow are sung back with enthusiasm. Curse Curse and Moving On, from 2014's La Petite Mort, sound as good as anything they have ever done. The latter especially deserves a wider audience and it obviously means a great deal to Tim.
Amazingly we also get a song (I Wanna Go Home) from Hey Ma. I love that album, it was their first after reuniting in 2007 and will always have a special place in myself and Mrs Rocks hearts. Play more from it in the future please. Finishing the main set with Come Home and Attention showcases both old and new. Indeed in total I counted ten albums were featured in the show.
The encore...ah the encore. A stripped back Fred Astaire, a version of Sometimes that will last with me for ever (I'm still singing it now..as probably are most who were there), the brand new classic Nothing But Love (is that the song on the Amazon advert? :-) ) and somehow managing to squeeze in a 9 minute Sound into the 7 minutes they had left.
I love Sound. The wife can't stand it...not even Andy Diagram playing his trumpet up in the Gods (not a euphemism) could salvage it for her. For me though, it transports me back in time and allows me to finally achieve dancing like Tim....or maybe not.
So the uplifting encore sends us away with beaming smiles and a sense that there is still much more to come from a band that is on such a creative high...a high that shows no sign of slowing down.
See you in 2017.
Ticket: December 6th 2016
Ticket Price: £45.00