james at commodore

James at Commodore Ballroom

My experience with the Manchester born band James, is very limited. Of course I remember their hits like ‘Come Home’ and ‘Sit Down’ from the 90’s, but since then they have fallen off the radar for me. I still have a few of their songs on various playlists and compilations, but I never seek them out. They have always just been there.

On Saturday night, after having been blown away by The Polyphonic Spree at Venue, I walked over to the Commodore Ballroom. I showed up a little late and was not held back by any queue outside the club. I picked up my ticket and went right in. As I scaled the stairs I started to hear this amazing vocal set. The second I realized that it was the opening act, I literally ran up the remaining steps and speed walked over to the stage.

I closed in on the stage and found a single female performer sitting at a keyboard. You may know her better at Elizaveta. She melds the worlds of opera and indie-rock into a glorious masterpiece. The one thing that caught my attention right off the bat was the level of control and power she carries in her voice. She is magnificent, her vocals are by far the most intense I have ever experienced live. I mean there are great singers in the world, but the level she exists in is not populated with very many other people. The way she mixes the two genres really kept my interested throughout her entire performance. I expect that if she as able to get the right management and marketing team, she could be huge. I expect big things from this lady, that is why I went up to her after her set and shook her hand. Simply stupendous.

The usual hussle between musical acts took place; beer was consumed, t-shirts were purchased. The room became dark and the stage filled with the members of James. The group consisted of six members all together; Tim Booth, Jim Glennie, Larry Gott, Saul Davies, Mark Hunter, David Baynton-Power, and Andy Diagram. The lead singer, Tim Booth, stepped out and starter into the first song, ‘Dream Thrum’. His delivery was soft and intimate. The audience was immediately in love, a silence fell across the room.

As I watched each member of the band work the stage, I was impressed by the passion displayed. Not a single member stood there with that unimpressed look you see in more mature acts. It was refreshing to see an all about joy about them. They looked to be having fun, yes that’s right, a band that looked to be having fun.

Throughout the performance, I was constantly impressed with the lead singer. He was able to deliver his vocals from a very deep emotional place. Not very many front men can do that these days. I mean many can perform a song with a sense that they are conveying emotion. But it seems to be a rarity that each song is truly unique from the night before. The singer seemed to be able to poor this into each song. Making it feel unique and personal.

Set List
Dream Thrum
Play Dead
Say Something
Waltzing Along
Gonna Miss You
Wanna Go Home

Encore #1

Encore #2
Out TO Get You

I will have to say that now that I have seen this group live, I want to know more about them. As we speak I am reading their bio and conducting the usual Wikipedia research. Not always the best method of knowledge hunting but it is a great start. The boys in the band left me wanting more, they did their jobs well. Thank you James, you were spectacular.

Photos © Jamie Taylor

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