Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom 



15 Apr 1998

IF you can't do it when you're young, when can you do it? asks the T-shirt for support band the audience. It's a song title which doubles as a marketing slogan for their funky teen chantette Sophie Ellis Bextor and it's a challenge for the main draw. Can James still "do it" now they're, er, not quite as young as they once were?

With a chart-topping "best of" in the shops, the night was billed as a celebratory Return of the Mancunian Seven with all big guns blazing. This is the band, remember, that's been there, done that, and flogged a million T -shirts. The Barrowland is packed with such garments and, as bopping commences to the sizzling souped-up strains of opener Come Home, it strikes me that no matter how nuts you go, you couldn't possibly make dafter whoopy-whoopy noises than vocalist and man of maracas Tim Booth. The Top Jameser has often been portrayed as an icon for the miserable, the disillusioned, and the disaffected and tonight keeps up this image effortlessly by donning the Wim Jansen wig someone kindly tosses on to the stage.

Despite the glorious racket created by tunes like Laid, She's a Star, and Destiny Calling, I'm never certain whether the lads are revelling in these greatest hits or cursing them.

I wonder just how comfortable James are churning out the songs that made them famous for an audience that's all too appreciative. A wearily counted intro ushers in an encore stagger-through of sit down.

The sing-along sequence highlights the difference between singer and crowd accents. Indeed, the syllables the locals use loudly to pronounce the word "ridiculous" sounds so ridiculous they even make the band smile.

Rab Christie


This Review was Originally featured in the Glasgow Herald

an article by Rab Christie

reproduced at

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