Tuesday, November 04, 2008

"That's the living..."

Before I left for Italy my friend had invited me to see James at The Vic the week I got back. I said I would go if tickets were still available. I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to see James live, but thought, “Hey, why not? I like the songs I know and they don’t tour the states that often.” I think the last time they were in the states was almost 10 years ago. Plus, KEXP was playing songs off their new album Hey Ma and they were pretty good. And of course, I’m always open to seeing bands that are the all time favorites of my friends.

My first encounter with James was probably very similar to yours. In 1993 they released a single called “Laid” and for many this is the only song they associate with this Manchester band. For years after its release it was used in commercials, movie trailers, and will be on 90s compilation CDs until the end of time. It is also burned into my memory as the song that makes gaggles of girls in bars get super excited and rush the dance floor, tube tops a fallin’, to shake their bums as they yell “This bed is on fire with passion and love.” Ahhh memories of Georgetown…

So why not go see this band? Their career has spanned 3 decades and has a strong following. My friend also told me his best friend from Alabama was coming up for this show. They are such super fans they were also going to Milwaukee the next night to see them. I, however, only know a handful of their songs: “She’s A Star,” “Sit Down,” “Laid,” and my all time fave “Getting Away With It (All Messed Up)”…all of which they played. Oh and the new songs I’ve heard, “Hey Ma” and “White Boy.” For those of you who are interested in the setlist:

1. Dream Thrum

2. She's a Star
3. Oh My Heart
4. Waterfall
5. Ring the Bells
6. Hey Ma

7. Bubbles
8. Say Something
9. Five-0
10. I Want To Go Home
11. Out To Get You
12. Upside
13. White Boy
14. Laid
15. Sit Down

16. Sound
17. Top of the World
18. Getting Away With It (All Messed Up)

19. Sometimes

I think the encore started at “Top of the World.” One song I ended up really liking was “Sometimes.” They really involved the crowd and had as singing along. The crowd itself was also really great and you can tell they were super excited to be seeing James after so many years. Everyone was singing along and dancing around. It was great. They were also older, I think I may have been one of the youngest people there, but I wasn’t too surprised by that.

Another thing about this show was this was the first time I sat in the balcony at The Vic. Normally I go to shows solo (sad violins enter here) and so once I find a spot I stay put. However, this time around we sat in the balcony. It was a good spot, but I think the floor is where it is at in that venue. I really like how there are different levels in the floor so you are elevated and everyone isn’t all the same plane. But I am glad I got to see what a show was like in the balcony.

I really liked James live. I can’t say I would rush to go see them again, but it was definitely a memorable show and I enjoyed myself.


James website:

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