Discover / Down To The Sea / Five-O / Wave Hello / Eh Mamma / Sometimes / Dance Of The Bad Angel / Bone / What Goes On / Butterfly’s Dream / Monkey God / What Goes On (second version) / Fall In Love
Arriving in Bedford, you could be forgiven you’d found yourself in Brian Potterworld. The Esquires looked like the Phoenix Club complete with paper sign on the white board above the door advertising Tim’s gig. Once inside however, the venue wasn’t as bad as we’d feared, a good size stage and a reasonable sized crowd in.
Immediately it was noticeable compared to the other shows that the audience now having heard Bone would improve the atmosphere and crowd reaction. Discover was greeted with cheers and a cock-up at the beginning of Down To The Sea was laughed off by the band and appreciated by the crowd.
This wasn’t just a crowd looking for James songs either. The introduction of Five-O didn’t create the knowing response of previous shows. The version was rockier than previous versions and Lee added some backing vocals in the middle as well, showing the band had worked on the song and, as Tim had said, gone to a higher level even since the previous gigs.
Wave Hello and Eh Mamma were performed fast and frenetically, almost on the edge of collapsing under their own pace, but all the better for the power of the performance all five were putting in.
There was a slight lull during Sometimes and Dance Of The Bad Angel as both songs seemed to have been slowed down from previous outings and it did disturb the pace and energy that had been built up. This however was brought back with a stretched out version of Bone which lasted over eight minutes and featured some gorgeous sax work from Robin.
The real highlight of the show was the surprise Tim had promised, a cover version of the Velvet Underground standard What Goes On. An almost thrash version, very different from the original, of the track brought more people down to dance. Keeping the pace up the band then blasted their way through Butterfly’s Dream and a manic version of Monkey God to complete the main set. People were dancing, shouting, cheering, a fantastic reaction to a set of songs they had in the most never heard or just got acquainted with.
Milo then came on stage to perform a stand up routine which involved phoning up a local kebab shop, pretending first to have gone blind after eating a kebab and then to be a Virgin Radio DJ offering a prize for answering three questions. After stringing the poor guy along for two questions, the third “question” was a simple “fuck off” which brought the house down.
Unsure how to follow that, the band came back on and did another different semi-improvised take on What Goes On and then finished the set with a beautiful rendition of Fall In Love for which the crowd simply shut up and listened.
A real success then, a reasonable crowd for a barely advertised warm-up gig and one that was prepared to both listen to the slower songs and getting involved with the faster songs, a great performance by the band and the added bonus of Milo’s stand-up. If you haven’t got tickets for the tour yet, go and get some.