Early version of Hey Ma with three alternate track names
Bubbles / Hey Ma / Waterfall / Oh My Heart / Boom Boom / Pure Beauty / Upside / Whiteboy / AB / Better In Black / I Wanna Go Home
|Release Name:||Hey Ma (UK CDR promo 1)|
|Release Date:||December 2007|
Early press version with Semaphore called Pure Beauty, 72 called AB and Of Monsters And Heroes And Men called Better In Black
Press CDR promo of Hey Ma
Bubbles / Hey Ma / Waterfall / Oh My Heart / Boom Boom / Semaphore / Upside Down / Whiteboy / 72 / Of Monsters Heroes And Men / I Wanna Go Home
|Release Name:||Hey Ma (UK CDR promo 2)|
|Release Date:||December 2007|
Press CDR promo of Hey Ma
James retire to Chateau de Warsy in France with Lee Muddy Baker and record the album Hey Ma.
James play two nights at Hoxton Bar And Grill, with sets comprising entirely of new material before recording sessions for their new album.
SetlistChild To Burn / Good Mood Sunday / Out Of Our Heads / Hey Ma / Waterfall / I Wanna Go Home / 72 / Mother's A Clown / Of Monsters And Heroes And Men / Start A Fire / Oh My Heart / Whiteboy / Bubbles / Boom Boom / Not So Strong / Upside
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The second of two shows made up entirely of new songs to roadtest them before the recording sessions for Hey Ma, including some that didn’t make the record. The audience were requested to score and make comments on a pre-printed setlist.
Review by OneOfTheThree.com
I’m going to try and keep this short and sweet. The new album section of the site will be updated with my notes on each of the songs, assuming I can read my notes of course.
With one listen of all the main set songs behind me, things became quite a lot clearer tonight. Songs fitted themselves into categories quite easily. The ready to record, the jam that needs a bit more. The quiet song, the slow burner, the builder and the all out pop classic. The single, the album track, the b-side.
Child To Burn is a very understated start. It’s gorgeous though with Andy’s whistling through the trumpet and Tim’s very pronounced vocal effects. Good Mood Sunday never quite catches fire. It’s got potential but needs some more work to be the finished article to stand alongside some of the stronger songs tonight. But then, that’s the whole point of the evening anyway, so it’s a bit churlish.
Out Of Our Heads could be the album’s Laid. It’s a bit throwaway, but it’s fun. And just because James are older than most of their peers doesn’t mean they can’t have fun. Other bands should try it. And James are definitely having fun. You can see the glances, the smiles and the focus. Although they did fuck it up the first time. But we can forgive them that.
Tim berates an audience member who seemed to spend most of the gig pogoing for his reaction to Tim mentioning the anniversary of 9/11 before Hey Ma, which has the acoustic intro from Larry still. Waterfall sounds much fresher and crisper than the previous night. Some lovely vocal delivery that builds to a crescendo before going back into the chorus which is followed by some wonderful trumpet over the end section.
I Wanna Go Home is probably my least favourite tonight. It starts off slow and grows with almost chanted lyrics. It does divert off a little towards the end, but not enough for it to stand up fully to some of the more rounded and complete tracks tonight. With the right studio treatment, it’ll probably sound fantastic though.
A/B (renamed 72 when released) and Mother’s A Clown notch the speed up. A/B is very funky and has some wonderful backing vocals from Saul and Larry. Mother’s A Clown is the best representation tonight of the addition of Saul’s violin and Andy’s trumpet into the new songs. Watching the interaction between the plan is a pleasure. They’re enjoying this. They know they can do this. There’s a number of people dancing wildly in the middle. I think it’s alcohol-related but it’s amusing to watch in these circumstances.
Better In Black (renamed to Of Monsters And Heroes And Men when released) starts with a stream of consciousness lyric which sounds like random words, but grows in something quite aching and beautiful. Tim even gets in two different pronunciations of either into one line.
Start A Fire is new. It has promise, but needs another listen to appreciate it fully, I suspect. The muddy sound does make differentiation and subtlety in some of these tempo songs difficult without really intense listening, and it’s hard work.
The set ends with four faster tempo songs which grab back the interest of a few chatterers in the crowd. Oh My Heart is more traditional James although it does have a very surprising false end which almost makes it two songs in one, but Whiteboy starts with Tim banging a cowbell and declaring himself “all mashed up”. The latter definitely has single potential, or focus track potential as our beloved friends in the industry call it.
Bubbles has developed wonderfully since we first heard it in July and demonstrates just how much some of the new songs can build on the very sound foundations to become something truly special.
The last track Boom Boom is a pleasant surprise. Sounding a bit weak on first listen yesterday, it’s now powerful and emotive, driven by the bass with spirals of trumpet cascaded throughout it. It’s really quite wonderful stuff.
They come back tonight for a more familiar encore of Not So Strong and Upside Downside (later renamed to just Upside for the album release). Not So Strong seems a bit ragged. But ragged James brings excitement with it, from chaos comes beauty. I’m not entirely convinced the new lyrics are an improvement on those from the earliest performances, but as it’s work in progress still, I’m sure we’ll end up hearing something quite different next year. Upside doesn’t really need any more praise than it’s had already.
So two rather special nights are over. It’s been hard and intense for the audience, I can’t believe how hard it’s been for the band. But everyone’s smiling, the reaction to the new material is great and it looks like a lot of the relationships have been mended. It reminds me of 1992 and what, for me, was James most fertile and exciting live era. The album is going to sound great, based on what we’ve heard and hopefully it won’t be the last we’ve heard.
Thanks to James for being brave enough to go public with their rehearsals and respect to 99% of the audience who listened and took it in with resorting to loud chatter.
Can’t wait for 2008.
SetlistChild To Burn / Good Mood Sunday / Out Of Our Heads / Hey Ma / Waterfall / Pure Beauty (Semaphore) / I Wanna Go Home / A/B (72) / Mother's A Clown / Better In Black (Of Monsters And Heroes And Men) / Oh My Heart / Fear? / Whiteboy / Bubbles / Boom Boom
More Information & Reviews
The first of two shows made up entirely of new songs to road-test them before the recording sessions for Hey Ma, including some that didn’t make the record. The audience were requested to score and make comments on a pre-printed setlist. The names of some of the songs changed for the Hey Ma release.
Review by OneOfTheThree.com
How do you even start to write a review of a gig like this? I don’t think I can recall ever hearing of a band coming on and playing fifteen new songs one after the other, without seemingly pausing for breath. No hits, no hidden classics, hell they don’t even play Upside Downside [ed. later renamed to just Upside for album release], Traffic and Not So Strong, three new songs that thrilled us over the summer. Some of these songs probably won’t make it on the album. Some of them will only probably ever get heard over these two nights. Lyrics will probably change beyond recognition, arrangements will change. With all this going on, you just wonder if the excitement, the newness and the sheer bloody-mindedness of it will drown the event. It is hard work, but it’s the sort of hard work you enjoy. There’s a sense of wonder, a sense of uniqueness, a sense of a future vision of the band. Forget the mega-shows of the big theatres and the arena in April, the hit-laden festival successes of the summer, this is what this reunion is all about.
In order to set the scene, the rather wonderful idea of handing out setlists to everyone was conceived. It is a sign of intent and also a sign that those expecting a concession on hits are wasting their time. It builds the anticipation.
I’m not going trying to do a deep analysis of each of the new songs here – maybe tomorrow night.. I don’t honestly think I could off one listen. The set is a mix of gorgeous slow yearning songs, some poppy upbeat numbers, there’s a number of songs that start off slow and then explode gloriously. Saul plays a lot of violin which adds so much more to the mix than when he plays guitar (not a criticism of his ability on it). Andy’s trumpet is absolutely everywhere and Tim quite often uses that as a cue and also as a board to bounce his vocals off. Larry’s slide guitar permeates the slower songs in a way that made Laid such compelling listening. Mark’s keyboards and Dave’s drums, as ever, hold the whole thing together perfectly. As in all great James songs, the keys are understated. Jim’s bass is the spine for so many of the songs, but, with Larry back, there’s an interplay and a communication there that had gone when Larry departed. Vocally, there’s some interesting vocal styles, particularly on the slower songs. They work well although the muddy sound on the faster songs sometimes distorts them.
Favourite songs at this stage? Child To Burn, A/B, Better In Black and Bubbles. But I’m sure that will be different tomorrow night.
SetlistBorn Of Frustration / Tomorrow / Come Home / Out To Get You / Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) / Say Something / Upside / Ring The Bells / Gold Mother / Sit Down / Sometimes / Laid
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Review by OneOfTheThree.com
Before playing new song Upside Downside [ed. later renamed to just Upside for album release], Tim dedicated it to Tony Wilson and talked about the spirit and passion that Tony had for music that came from the heart. How ironic that the applause that came back was from the main stage crowd of the most anodyne music festival ever invented (I’ve never been to Stafford, so am basing this off the Chelmsford “experience”).
Glastonbury, Reading and T have their own quirks and charms but they exude a passion for the music and the legacy of the festival experience. They don’t have the complete sanitisation of anything that might make the day a little more interesting. The threat of pulling the plug on the gig if Tim came down to the crowd (who were so far back he could waste a few minutes getting to them) or invited people on stage says everything you need to know. Add to it the people in the front rows who were waiting for The Killers and Kasabian who got upset when people dared to dance near them (I would have loved to seen it when the beered up meatheads appeared as Kasabian came on) and you have the ultimate in watered down emotionless passionless gatherings of people you could imagine. Even Tim’s breast t-shirt was deemed too risque for late night Channel 4 viewing. And the dress provoked some interesting reactions from the hoodies around me until I pointed out a certain Kurt Cobain took great pride at wearing dresses on stage.
A festival with Bacardi tents and The Cider House churning out hours of endless mindless dance “classics” with half the crowd more interested in being seen at the festival because it makes them oh so alternative probably means there’s not a lot of hope for a band like James in that environment. The music demands that you listen to it, it doesn’t just wash over your head, it doesn’t have the easy hooks that The Fratellis and Kasabian who preceded and followed James (and to be fair to both, were reasonably entertaining)..
James response was an uncompromising fuck you approach to the gig. With Tim beset with throat problems, they decided THEY were going to enjoy the set, even if noone else did. And they put on one of the strongest performances of the year. It may have turned a few people, it may have reminded others just how great they are. And Tim’s stroke of genius by ignoring the fascist bully boys and singing the last song Laid from the barrier meant people had something to remember the set by even if many of them hadn’t bothered for the most of it.
Born Of Frustration kicked off the set with Larry’s building brooding intro before crashing into Tim’s trademark yodel. There are pockets of recognition around the crowd, but it’s quite muted. The band don’t seem to care, Andy and Tim prowl the stage, Tim occasionally breaks into dance and the song builds to its epic climax. The sound is dreadful for the first few songs. The opening of Tomorrow is barely audible, but once the guitars are turned up, it’s fast, it’s passionate and yet the crowd are only mildly agitated. It’s not cool to like bands who are as old as your Dad, is it now?
Come Home is the one minor disappointment. For me, it has always sounded best when played fast and hard. The new arrangement has taken some of the edge off it, in my opinion. That said, it probably gets the second best reception of the set. Out To Get You should be a great festival anthem – the swaying masses of arms when it was played at T are testament to this. Here, it’s barely audible because the sound is still so damn poor and people use it as an excuse to chat away and moan when someone dares sing near them. Once the sound gets fixed, the ending goes off on improvised tangents and sounds fantastic.
Getting Away With It doesn’t seem to get much recognition from the crowd, despite the best attempts of the band who play a slightly faster and rockier version than of late. Say Something does at least gets cheers of recognition from parts of the crowd and it’s amusing when Tim starts his improvised end section just as everyone is joining in with the normal words.
Upside Downside doesn’t feel at all out of place in the set. It’d have been nice for James to have taken the really awkward route and played three or four new songs. It’d have been interesting to see the reaction too. But one was probably the wise thing to do, particularly as Upside is the one that’s most ready enough for this size of exposure, brilliant as the other four are. There are a number of arms raised around as the chorus kicks in and it sounds great – not out of place at all amongst the better-known songs in the rest of the set.
Ring The Bells starts the climax towards the end of the set and at last there is some life in the crowd. Tim’s dancing seems to attract the attention of some of the supercool and the hoodies. Tim makes an off the cuff remark that it’s like an intimate pub gig. I think he’s taking the piss.
Following Tim again berating the Gold Mother sees the band invite a number of people on from the side of the stage, including one gentleman waving a homemade James flag and a guy who seems to have boxed himself into some construction involving balloons. Tim wanders off towards the side to sing half the song as the dancers take centre stage. The crowd appear bemused. Noone has done anything today that doesn’t involve standing there and playing the songs. This is something they weren’t expecting. It’s brilliant festival material. Well it would be anywhere else.
The big moment comes as Tim announces they’re going to play the Arctic Monkeys favourite song. I think some of the kids actually believe it too. Larry counts in 1-2-3-4 and Sit Down crashes in. Suddenly there’s more singing along, there’s a bit of a mosh in parts as well. Again, it appears it’s played slightly off speed to put people off the obvious temptation to drown the band out and stretch the song out.
Sometimes seems made for these wider stages. It’s beautifully yearning and the lighting is starting to have an impact as it starts to go dark. The set concludes with Laid. It’s the best performance of the song this year. Tim jumps down off the stage and climbs on the barrier thus committing one of the biggest crimes known to man. To be fair, security do help him until they’re ordered to carry him down at which point Tim runs further down the barrier. The song itself benefits from the extended improvised ending and the bemused reaction on the faces of the crowd.
And then they’re gone. James were great, as they always are in adversity where they always take things on. I’m not sure what came out of the show though. There’s a lot of love and goodwill for James since the reunion and they need to continue to tap into it. T and Belladrum were wonderful experiences with an ecstatic response, and the European festivals appear to have had the same effect. Maybe Tim’s quip that they wouldn’t be allowed back here because he left the stage wouldn’t be a bad thing.
The bald, moustachioed man on the stage wearing the black T-shirt with a pair of breasts printed on it – coupled with a fetching flowing black skirt – is the singer from James. Funnily enough though, for having someone as distinctive looking as Tim Booth, James are musically doing nothing to make themselves stand out. Still, when they play ‘Sit Down’, it all becomes worthwhile, even if we’re not into it enough to give ourselves a muddy bum by joining in.
SetlistBorn Of Frustration / Tomorrow / Sit Down / Out To Get You / Bubbles / Upside Downside (Upside) / Ring The Bells / Gold Mother / Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) / Laid / Sometimes / Come Home
Supportn/a - Festival
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Review by Mike (takemeanywhere)
Upside love you
Downside Miss You
A more appropriate lyric was never written to describe the way I feel writing this review. The love I feel for this band is that unconditional kind of love usually only given by pets and babies. I guess the only difference is that my love includes an overwhelming pride and a protective quality, akin to a lion with her cubs. I even feel that the love is requited. Not on a personal level, that would just be weird, but band to audience. That’s the upside. The downside is that I’m gonna miss them like crazy. Yes, they need to disappear and write an album but these weekly James sojourns have become addictive and habit forming. Not seeing them again for a month or so, I could handle but next year just seems so far away. So, how do they leave me feeling after our final tryst of 2007? Read on if you care.
It’s a bloody miserable day. It rains in a way that suggests that ‘somebody up there’ doesn’t much like music festivals. There is really no need for it, although the rain has caused far more despair in the UK this summer than in my living memory. And I’m not trying to compare a muddy festival to the flooding of peoples homes, I’m not (quite) that crass. However, people look forward to events like this and it is heartbreaking to see such abject despondency. One guy even sells us some beer tokens at a reduced rate because he is “giving it up”. Even Peter Kay walking on the stage to introduce our heroes can’t bring a smile to the faces of the masses. James do though.
The setlist is the one that james have been taking around Europe over the course of the summer. No alarms and no surprises here. They do play Bubbles and Upside Downside [ed. later renamed to just Upside for album release] in the middle of the set, which is a brave move in the early evening slot of a major festival. It is clear that the crowd wants the hits but whilst the new songs are not given the hushed reverence that they were given in Edinburgh, the chattering is kept to a minimum. The band has earned this level of respect due to the opening salvo of monster hits. Born of Frustration throbs and swaggers, Tomorrow soars and Sit Down bounces along in time to the crowd. Or something. Then they play Out To Get You and I look around at thousands of people mouthing the words “Insecure, what you gonna do?” and can barely believe that this was once an obscure b-side, before it’s Laid treatment. It thoroughly deserves it’s place on the Best Of album. Bubbles sounds better with every listen and I have made my feelings on Upside Downside known on many occasions before. Nothing about today’s performance alters my opinion (humble of course) that this could be a hit of epic proportions.
The new songs are followed by another run of james classics and the crowd lap it up. Ring The Bells is greeted like an old friend, Gold Mother sees dancers brought on from backstage because the festival consider the, now customary picking of people from the crowd a “health and safety issue”. Getting Away With It receives a more lukewarm reception than of late. Laid doesn’t. Sometimes is introduced by Tim as the final song and I believe him. Afterall, their allotted time is up. So, will this swirling epic be the final live james song for me this year?. The lyrics certainly hold great resonance today in the pouring rain. However, the festival allow them to run over time and the band choose to close with Come Home, just as they did in Belladrum. Some time after they finish playing, whilst walking in the mud, I decide that this is a far more appropriate way to part from my lover. I just hope that they come home soon.
So there’s no Play Dead or Chain Mail, which the bloody-minded james of yesteryear may have indulged in. Today is a day for giving the people what they want, not a day for blowing a great opportunity. Maybe, just maybe this time the band want it enough to succeed. Tim, Jim, Larry, Saul, Mark, Dave and Andy, you are loved more than you’ll ever know and the upside will always outweigh the downside.
Gavin Haynes (NME)
As Tim Booth gazes out over the crowd presently lapping up ‘Sit Down’, his alien eyes take on a wistful, dewy look. He’s missed this, you sense. This is what he lives for, hell, what he was born for.
That’s nice, Tim. We’re happy you and the dream have been reunited, and this state of affairs can probably persist for another few festival seasons. There may yet be enough residual love out there. But only, only, if you play hits and nothing but.
To general head-scratching, James bounce from hit to bellyflop to hit, following ‘Sit Down’ with… something… about eight minutes of violin, flute, Boothy crooning the secrets of the cosmos, and some indistinguishably woozy baggy, yup, something, that hangs in the air like Eau de Shaun Ryder’s Corpse. After ‘Sometimes’, we are coached through their forthcoming single ‘Who Are You’. It’s not a lesson we will forget.
Best Song: ‘Laid’
Best Moment: The way that Boothy’s dancing has lost none of its hippy-dippy tinge. After all these years, he still comes on like a trout attempting semaphore. On drugs. Naturally.