I like my live music and being close to Vancouver where a lot of bands and artists stop off has allowed me to gig on a regular basis rather than the once or twice a year it had become when living in Kent.
A few months back I posted an entry following Editors gig at Richards on Richards. Since then I’ve seen a few more bands, Athlete, Suzanne Vega, Maximo Park (surely the best support act I’ve seen since U2 supported the Bunnymen in 1980) and Travis.
Around Christmas I was chatting with my long time friend Mr C. He’d recently seen From the Jam playing and, despite my initial skepticism (could it ever be the same without Weller?), he convinced me that he’d had a fantastic night. So, when I noticed that messers Foxton & Buckler were rolling in to Vancouver early in the new year I decided to go for it.
I was still unsure about the idea of resurrecting that part of my younger days. There are occasions when maybe it’s right to leave things for that time, fond memories best left intact. As Richards started to fill up I realised that this could be an interesting night. This could be the ultimate ‘mosh pit’ for the late 40’s and over. I was about to witness multiple hernias, could the health care system cope? Would the lights have to be kept at a really low level to prevent the blinding reflections from semi-bald pate’s?
I noticed Richards were dishing out beer in plastic glasses. Was this to make the predominantly Brit crowd feel at home, or was it that the proprietors feared the worst from a drunken hoard of fun seeking 40 something blokes? Well, despite my concerns the evening was a resounding success.
I’d quite forgotten how well the Jam had bonded with their fans, and despite the absence of Paul Weller, I soon realised that it was actually about the songs. Musically, the back-catalogue has stood the test of time and with 2/3rds of the original band playing the gig had so much more going for it than a tribute band could ever hope to achieve. I can remember the fantastic energy generated at Jam gig’s back in the late 70’s and it was present again at Richards. The crowd, despite having the average age of a chartered accountants gathering, were in good voice throughout and the atmosphere was actually better than I’ve experienced recently for current bands. Impressive.
Full marks must go to Russell Hastings who’s had to step in to Weller’s shoes, an unenviable task, but he really delivered a passionate performance. As Mr C had said, ‘close your eyes and you’d be hard pressed to know the difference.’
The set was an unashamed stroll through ‘In the City‘ to ‘Town called Malice’ and even though so many great songs had to be left out, it was simply one memorable tune followed by another, every note transporting me back to various gigs – Rainbow, London, 1980, Going Underground straight in at No.1, Guildford Civic Hall, several times whilst living in the area, Poole Arts Centre warm up gig for the Sound Affects tour and so on.
As I previously mentioned there are times when the past is best left as it was. However From the Jam proved to be the exception, in fact they proved to be exceptional.
As a footnote I used my new Canon SD1000 (Ixus in Europe) to take the evenings pics. I’m still getting used to using a semi-auto digital and even playing with the manual settings struggled to eliminate blurring. Having said that it’s a giant leap forward from the Nokia pics.