The Man From Del Monte
Record Mirror 1987
There’s not a cardigan in sight as Manchester oddballs James prepare to launch their most recent bid for major success.
Previous attempts have tried and failed, but James have survived. Now they’re back, and as they take the wraps off their new material in the concrete confines of Manchester’s newest venue, they look likely to succeed this time around.
They have shrugged off the born again Vegan label. although their angular folk leanings poke through the pop shroud every now and again. They kick off a 14 song set with ‘Johnny Yen’, an awkward, tottering song, but delivered with a crisp confidence, suggesting that James know where they are heading. They pile into the new single ‘Ya Ho’ and it becomes obvious that nothing is going to go wrong in front of the sell-out home town crowd. As James go from strength to strength, the dancing, ringing guitar style of Jimmy Gott turns tonight into a celebration. With the wind behind them and the crowd on their side, ‘So Many Ways’ was staggeringly good.
But the most valuable player award for the best performance goes to Gavan Michael Whelan, the drummer without whom James could kiss their ambitions goodbye. His subtle stickwork does much to bring power and panache to the James sound and if anyone deserves credit. it’s him. And as if to prove that they can do it that way as well, the encore is a three vocal version of ‘Folklore’, accompanied only by the bass, Judging by the reactions of the crowd. James did more than enough to keep their foot in the door Now all they need is to get their fingers in the pie.