FROM THE JAM + CHRIS POPE – ST. PETER’S CHURCH, BRIGHTON 17.8.22
Continuing The Jam related gigs and events for the ‘This Is The Modern World’ exhibition, it was fitting to see a former member of The Jam, Bruce Foxton, return to the city of their final concert to perform.
A few confessions to get out of the way, which I had before the concert. (1) This was ‘From The Jam’ “unplugged” and I’m not a fan of acoustic sets. (2) On arrival I noticed there were seats laid out in front of the stage for the audience. (3) I’ve not seen any members of The Jam play live since their farewell concert back in 1982. So, I admit in some ways I was going more out of curiosity than expectation.
Bassist Bruce Foxton was the only one of the three band members on Wednesday, who was actually from The Jam. The band was formed from drummer Rick Buckler’s Jam tribute band “The Gift”, when Brice Foxton joined them. Bruce Foxton was joined on stage by founding band member Russell Hastings on lead vocals and acoustic guitar and more recent recruit Andy Fairclough on keyboards.
Wednesday’s set surprisingly started with a B-side ‘Liza Radley’, (the B-side of ‘Start!’). This was followed by ‘That’s Entertainment’, and then ‘Eton Rifles’, when the audience participation noticeably increased. On the chorus after Hastings sang “Eton” the crowd joined in with Foxton’s “Rifles” reply.
With the quality and depth of The Jam’s back catalogue, there were so many great tracks for them to choose from. The hits like ‘Start!’, ‘Town Called Malice’ and ‘Going Underground’ were there alongside B-sides like ‘Liza Radly’ and ‘Sad About Us’.
The unplugged set worked well, particularly with newer songs (1981/82 is still relatively newer) from ‘Sound Affects’ and ‘The Gift’ Not surprisingly ‘That’s Entertainment’ worked perfectly. If I’m being harsh, the earlier tracks from ‘In The City’ and ‘This Is The Modern World’ by comparison didn’t translate acoustically as well. They lacked the young Paul Weller’s angry vocals plus the keyboards instead of the drums on these tracks seemed slightly odd.
The addition of a keyboard player to Foxton’s bass and Hasting’s acoustic guitar occasionally made it sound like “From The Style Council” with a Mick Talbot replacement instead of a Rick Buckler one.
There was room in the set for one new non-Jam song, ’Lula’. A track from the forthcoming Foxton and Hastings album ‘Butterfly Effect’ due in the autumn about a spoiled woman who materially has everything, but has nothing that really matters in life.
Interspersed in the set were questions and answers sessions led by Russell Hastings. These ranged from the impossible to answer “What is your favourite Jam song?” to the ridiculous “What is your favourite jam?”. One question was asked by Spandau Ballet’s Steve Norman, who was in the audience. There was plenty of fun in these interludes, notably, when Foxton was asked which non-Jam song he wished he’d written. To which he replied ‘Taxman”, with a tongue-in-cheek reference to The Beatles sounding bass line on ‘Start!’.
After ‘Saturdays Kids’, the final song of the main set, the whole audience were on their feet in a standing ovation. They stayed on their feet for the three-song encore. Well, they were never going to leave without playing The Jam’s debut number one single ‘Going Underground’.
Obviously, there’s no comparison with The Jam’s historic final gig at The Brighton Centre back in December 1982, and shouldn’t be.
Overall, From The Jam produced a brilliant evening’s entertainment. It was great hearing live the great music of the first band to make a real impression on me back in my youth and the first band of which I could say I was a fan.
I needn’t have worried about my pre-concert concerts. The quality of the material stood up to being played acoustically and the test of time. (‘Saturdays Kids’ may still work in Tesco’s, but Woolworths is no longer here.) Despite the seating, everybody was on their feet by the end of the performance. Plus Bruce Foxton is still a great bassist.
If you want to relive the classic Jam tracks and a few rarities you may have forgotten live, From The Jam said they’d be back in the city playing the Centre in December.
From The Jam are:
Russel Hastings (lead vocals and guitar)
Bruce Foxton (bass guitar and backing vocals)
Andy Fairclough (keyboards)
From The Jam setlist: (which was a different running order from the printed one before the gig)
‘To Be Someone’
‘Sad About Us’ (B-side and a cover of The Who song)
‘Life From A Window’
‘Lula’ (from the forthcoming Foxton and Hastings album ‘Butterfly Effect’)
‘Little Boy Soldiers’
‘Slow Down’ (From ‘In The City’ album and Larry Williams song, also recorded by The Beatles)
‘Down In Tube Station At Midnight’
‘Town Called Malice’
‘In The City’
The Chords were formed in South East London back in 1978 and Chris Pope joined the band after seeing their advert for musicians in the NME. The Chords were part of the 1970s mod revival. Their early supporters included Paul Weller and Sham 69’s Jimmy Pursey. Hence Chris Pope’s fit with the overall exhibition. Their debut album, ‘So Far Away’, reached no. 30 in the UK Albums Chart in May 1980. After disbanding in 1981, they reformed and started touring again in 2010.
Chris Pope’s 11 song set included many of The Chords better known tracks from the band’s early days such as ‘Now It’s Gone’, ‘The British Way Of Life’ and ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ alongside more recent numbers such as ‘Listen To The Radio’ and ‘Hey Kids! Come The Revolution’. The songs’ lyrics are based on observation of life in London from shopping trips on the song ‘Portobello Road’ or the daily commute on ‘Man On The Northern Line’.
I was impressed with Chris Pope’s performance. An energetic unaccompanied set with songs with quality lyrics, which transferred well from a mod guitar band to an acoustic solo set.
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