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The Man From Del Monte
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Keith Cameron, Melody Maker
James are all about food. At the close of their set, singer Tim Booth remarks, with considerable disdain, "This is the last song and it's dedicated to all those journalists who think we're Buddhist vegetarians."
Not me pal. First, I've never written about James before and second, because it should have been obvious to anyone over the past three years that, live at least, this band are rampant carnivores.
Some things don't change, thank heavens and Tim Booth still shakes. For those unaware of what I mean, at appropriate moments in certain songs he comes on like a rag doll with a gyroscope for a backbone and judders violently at immense speed.
Not only is it fascinating and exciting to watch, but it can serve as an escape route for awkward moments, like in the first song tonight "So Many Ways", when the sound quality was
atrocious and things looked extremely dodgy.
Tim went bananas and everyone felt a whole lot better, the band most of all.
"We have to sort this out now, because we're going to be ruthless tonight," said Tim referring to the sound problems. But, although they earned top marks for effort, the sound remained variable and this was a less than ruthless performance.
Having previously thrilled to some high-octane Jamesian burnouts in small-scale venues, I know they can do better. They are a very intimate live band and the expanses of the T&C appeared to cramp their style. On the long term musical front, however, there seems no cause for concern as the liberal sprinkling of numbers from the forthcoming Stripmine album proved that James are still amongst the land's finest pop bands, nonconformist and just slightly mysterious.
"So if you came for a Buddhist vegetarian party, f**k off!"
Right Tim, mine's a kebab with extra meat.