James, Electric Ballroom, gig review: Tim Booth hits the high notes with relish

A committed performance from one of Britain's most underrated bands

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The Independent Culture

“We can't get on Later... but we can get on The Politics Show and The One Show,” quips frontman Tim Booth.

It's Jools Holland's loss. The veteran Mancunian seven-piece are more vital than ever here, showcasing their excellent new album, La Petite Mort.

Listen exclusively to James' new album

There are the obligatory James technical glitches but everything else is in perfect shape, from Booth's gyrating 54-year-old snake hips to Andy Diagram's rousing trumpet playing.

There are precious few 32-year-old bands who still feel this fresh and their new tracks - particularly the ravey Curse Curse (with the nifty lyric “I'm crazy as a wasp/ On a window in a heat wave”), the epic “Walk Like Me” and the emotive “All I'm Saying” (about the death of a friend) - merge seamlessly with their glorious anthems, most notably “Laid”, “Waltzing Along”, “Tomorrow”, “Say Something” and the sublime “Getting Away with It (All Messed Up)”. Thankfully, no “Sit Down”.

An intense Booth, who looks like he's just come off at stage at Shakespeare's Globe, is as sprightly as ever, throwing himself into the adoring crowd and hitting the high notes with relish. His gripping new material has clearly invigorated him.

A typically committed performance from one of Britain's most underrated (and enduring) bands.