Indie legends James make their eagerly anticipated return to the North East of England for a sold-out show at the Newcastle City Hall.

Tonight’s show being somewhat of a more intimate affair compared to the group’s last headline appearance in the region at the Live From Times Square festival in the summer of 2017.

Newcastle City Hall has a legendary status in the area and over the years the likes of The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones have all graced the stage in this hallowed room. Of course, the band has played this room several times in the past.

James are taking a rather refreshing approach to this tour by performing two sets whereby they are boldly opening for themselves. However, the two sets are somewhat different. Most songs tend to start off as ideas on an acoustic guitar. Tonight during the Manchester originating outfit’s first set they give the audience the opportunity to hear some of their tracks as they were originally conceived, and as the fans have never heard them before. The ambience of the set almost feels as if the band has invited us to watch them play in their living room, as they perform stripped back renditions of the likes of “Just Like Fred Astaire”, “Broken By The Hurt” and a heartfelt airing of “All I’m Saying”.

Due to a recent ankle injury, Tim Booth is confined to a chair centre stage during the first half of the show whilst the rest of the group stand aloft armed only with their acoustic instruments throughout the course of the set. Obviously, the Newcastle City Hall is a beautiful all-seater theatre and Booth who doesn’t seem too concerned about his recent ailment jokes accordingly that the crowd are all seated and so why shouldn’t he be, much to the audience’s amusement.

During the second half of the show, James hold nothing back as they belt through a fully electrified set. The whole room is up on their feet and pressed up against the stage from the off. Tonight the crowd may have been given a seat, but they certainly don’t intend to ‘sit down’ and nor does the band’s talismanic frontman Tim Booth, who despite his injury continues to dance up front throughout the second half of the evening.

With a new album under their belt in the shape of Living In Extraordinary Times, the group kicks off their electric set with an incredible airing of “What’s It All About”. This being one of seven tracks from the band’s latest offering to feature during their two sets. The likes of “Moving Car” and a hard-hitting and somewhat rhythmic rendition of “Heads” also features early on.

Mid-set it’s all about the classics as James delivers back to back anthems in the shape of “Getting Away With It All (Messed Up)”, a slowed down performance of “Sit Down” during which the crowd hangs on every word and the incredibly infectious “Johnny Yen” from the band’s 1986 debut album Stutter. Likewise, the band’s thunderous performance of “Tomorrow” along with the hypnotic baggy groove of “Come Home” is enough to transport the crowd back 90s Madchester heaven.

James closes out their main set with a bang as they trounce their way through an electro-tinged performance of “Attention” from their last album Girl At The End of the World. A two-song encore that concludes with “Seven” rounds out an incredible evening of music on Tyneside from one of the UK’s favourite indie rock outfits.

Tonight’s show is the ultimate James fan experience, with over two hours of live music, and the opportunity to hear the band as you’ve never heard them before and outside the confines of their now standard arena environment. This is a show which is not to be missed.

James
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Event Date: 17-Mar-2019

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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