SO.CO Team

4 weeks ago

Live: James @ Newcastle Arena - June 5th 2024

Utilita Arena Newcastle

Featured Photo

James arrived at Newcastle Arena on June 5th to deliver a dynamic testament to their enduring ability to innovate and captivate. Celebrating the release of their latest album, Yummy, the band delivered a set that intertwined new explorations with timeless classics. The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly Tim Booth, whose magnetic presence blurred the lines between performer and audience, turning the concert into a communal experience.

The electricity in the atmosphere palpable from the moment the lights dimmed. James opened with She’s A Star, immediately striking a chord with the audience. The new songs, including Mobile God and Life’s A Fucking Miracle, showcased a band unafraid to evolve. These tracks, imbued with a fresh, experimental edge, were executed with precision and passion, illustrating the band’s deftness in merging their established sound with contemporary influences.

Booth’s performance was nothing short of thrilling. Known for his distinctive stage presence, he spent a significant portion of the night in the crowd. This wasn’t just a performer interacting with his fans; it was a deliberate act of breaking down the barriers that typically separate artist and audience. Booth’s ventures into the throng were marked by spontaneous moments of connection - singing, dancing, and sharing the mic - transforming the concert into a shared celebration of music and community.

The setlist was a well-curated journey through James' extensive catalogue, balancing new material with the hits that have defined their career. Classics like Sit Down and Laid were delivered with the same energy and depth that have made them enduring anthems. The audience’s response was nothing short of rapturous, their collective voices rising to meet Booth’s in a powerful chorus that filled the arena.

Visually, the concert was a delight. The lighting and stage design were meticulously crafted to complement the emotional arcs of the music. Each song was accompanied by a visual narrative that enhanced its impact, creating a fully immersive experience that went beyond just aural pleasure.

Yummy represents a bold new chapter for James. The live renditions of its tracks demonstrated the band’s ability to stay relevant while pushing their creative boundaries. The new material felt fresh and invigorating, yet seamlessly integrated into the set, bridging the past and present. This seamless integration is a testament to the band’s skill in crafting music that is both reflective and forward-looking.

This show was a vibrant affirmation of their artistic vitality. Tim Booth’s dynamic interactions with the audience and the band’s flawless performance created an atmosphere of mutual respect and shared joy. For long-time fans and newcomers alike, the night was a reminder of why James continues to be a significant force. Their ability to innovate while staying true to their roots ensures that they remain as compelling now as they were when they first burst onto the scene.

Words and photos: Thomas Jackson