James: Stirling Tolbooth – live review


Stirling Tolbooth

12th April 2013

James make a low-key but triumphant return to the live stage, debuting four new songs, throwing a few curveballs and finishing with some classics.

Stirling Tolbooth is the smallest venue James have played, and are likely to play, for a long time. Holding about 200 people it’s packed for this warm up for their tour with Echo and the Bunnymen that starts tonight in Glasgow.

In true James tradition, the opening night of the tour is always experimental, the weirdest and most unusual set you get to hear on a tour and tonight is no exception. There’s four new songs played, there’s some of the more obscure less well-known album tracks, an old b-side and, as it’s James and they get away with it, all messed up, the odd technical hitch. The set isn’t as flowing as it’ll be on the tour, but then that’s the beauty of these evenings.

James: Stirling Tolbooth – live reviewAlthough there’s nothing pre-1990 in the set, we do get a mixture of songs from their catalogue since then. With a list of hits the length of your arm, you’re not going to hear everything, but we get a mix of songs from Gold Mother through to Hey Ma and four new songs, which whilst not necessarily having the sing-along choruses of some of their bigger hits, bode extremely well for the album the band are in the middle of writing and recording. They’re so new that Tim is reading the latest version of the lyrics from a sheet.

The sound in the venue isn’t really suited to a band with the set-up and power of James and it does sometimes take the edge off some of the louder and also the quieter numbers in the set. There’s a technical issue where the bass amp packs up before All In The Mind and we’re treated to an impromptu Lose Control with Andy on trumpet. That’s the real beauty of them, they deal with such issues effortlessly, there’s no recourse to just churning out hit after hit.

They played :

Waltzing Along
Lost A Friend
She’s A Star
Quick And The Dead
We’re Going To Miss You
Lose Control
All In The Mind
Moving On
Of Monsters And Heroes And Men
Born Of Frustration
Getting Away With It (All Messed Up)
I Defeat
Say Something
Come Home
Sit Down

James play the following dates :

Saturday April 13th – Glasgow SECC
Monday April 15th – Newcastle O2 Academy
Tuesday April 16th – Sheffield O2 Academy
Wednesday April 17th – Bristol Colston Hall
Friday April 19th – London O2 Brixton Academy
Saturday April 20th – London O2 Brixton Academy
Monday April 22nd – Bournemouth O2 Academy
Tuesday April 23rd – Leeds O2 Academy
Thursday April 25th – Birmingham O2 Academy
Friday April 26th – Manchester MEN Arena

Dave Brown’s James website can be found at www.oneofthethree.co.uk and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/oneofthethree.  He will be tweeting from the tour at @oneofthethree

James official site is www.wearejames.com.

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Having cut his teeth writing for Louder Than War, Dave set up his own blog Even The Stars and continues to make occasional contributions to Louder Than War. He also run Tim Booth from James' official website as well as the James fansite One Of The Three.


  1. Cracking set list. Bodes well for the rest of the tour. James still proving that they’re an amazing and utterly captivating live band.


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