Gig Review // JAMES at The Baths Hall

Friday Night and The Baths Hall in Scunthorpe had attracted yet another big name act to the stage.

There was a pretty extensive light and equipment set up filling the stage even before any performers dawned on it.

The lights were low purple with plenty of smoke filling the room to set the scene for the night.

The support act for the night was a band from Newcastle ‘Lanterns on The Lake’ for me their sound gave me a similar vibe to the band The XX. With somewhat haunting female vocals and heavy drum beats with hints of violin. The band is composed of lead singer Hazel Wilde, who also took to the keys throughout the band’s performance, Paul Gregory on lead guitar. It was quite interesting to see the lead guitarist pick up a violin bow and use it on his strings to create a different sound mid set. Then there was Oliver Ketteringham on drums, Bob Allan on bass and Angela Chan on Violin.

There was light banter between songs from lead singer Hazel in the form of referring to JAMES fans and their t-shirts and CD sales.

The band probably weren’t the type of band I’d have expected to be supporting JAMES, just as they were quite far apart in sound styling. But still a good band and I enjoyed seeing them perform.

You can check out Lanterns on the Lake here

The auditorium hadn’t quite filled up yet as the bar of the Baths Hall was buzzing with excited fans, chatting with beer in hand. There was a sea of blue JAMES T shirts spanning the room.

It was a short wait after the support act while the changeover for JAMES took place. The tannoy bellowed around the bar area to inform fans when they would be on stage and people started to drift in through the side doors to find their seats.

It is clear even though JAMES formed in the early 80’s and hit the charts early 90’s they still have fans of all ages.

The lights went down and the audience were seated, members of the band entered stage right to a heavy drum beat and a loud reception from a sold out auditorium.

Lead singer Tim Booth was last out carrying drums sticks and all members beat the drums for a theatrical entrance and light show to kick off the evening. Fans cheered and screamed throughout and the excitement built as everyone stood up from their seats. Which set the theme of the night. Although this was a seated gig there wasn’t many bums on seats for the whole performance.

Tim went out into the crowd a few times. Singing and dancing with fans and giving out hugs.

JAMES mostly played new songs from the current album ‘Living In Extraordinary Times’ fans still danced along to the newer songs but it was obvious which songs everyone knew. Coming Home part 2 got some arm waving and they also played ‘Busted’ from one of their EP releases.

You know what song fans were waiting for…. ‘Sit Down’. Which was one of the band’s biggest hits back in the 90’s. The band played a more mellow acoustic version of the song and the crowd absolutely loved it, arms round each other, swaying and singing along to the anthem.

Tim told the audience that they were lucky to get that song in the set as it’s only the second gig they’ve played it out of the 7 gigs they’ve done on this short tour.

I don’t in anyway claim to be a big fan of the band, of course I know who they are and I know a couple of songs but I didn’t know what to expect for the rest of the gig.

I was quite surprised at the sound of JAMES as it seemed alot less indie rock and they have added a lot more of a 80’s electro & pyschdelic vibe, with some pretty groovy dance moves happening on stage.

The band played another new song, which Tim claimed he expected to be their next big one ‘he hoped’. It seemed well received as when the song finished and the band were all set to continue to the next, the audience weren’t ready and began to accapella song lyrics to Many Faces. “There’s Only One Human Race, many faces, Everbody belongs here”. The band had big smiles on stage as they watched Scunthorpe chant their new song back to them.

There was two more songs to follow and obviously an encore of 3 more songs so fans were happy.

Tickets weren’t cheap but I think the majority of people left knowing they got a lot of music and a good night for the ticket price.

The Baths Hall did a great job with lighting and sound as always. I am looking forward to seeing what other big name acts will be booking in for a tour date in Scunthorpe.

Photos courtesy of Steven Potter & LGM

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