JAM + CHRIS POPE – ST. THE STONE CHURCH, BRIGHTON 17.8.22
Continuation of concerts and events related to The Jam for the “It’s the modern world” exhibition, it was fitting to see former member of The Jam, Bruce Foxton, return to the city from their last gig to perform.
A few confessions to fade away, which I had before the concert. (1) It was ‘Jam‘ “unplugged” and I’m not a fan of acoustic sets. (2) When I arrived, I noticed that there were seats arranged in front of the stage for the public. (3) I haven’t seen a member of The Jam play live since their farewell concert in 1982. So, I admit that in a way, I went there more out of curiosity than expectation.
Bassist Bruce Foxton was the only one of three band members on Wednesday, who was actually from The Jam. The band was formed from drummer Rick Buckler’s Jam tribute band “The Gift”, when Brice Foxton joined them. Bruce Foxton was joined on stage by founding band member Russell Hastings on vocals and acoustic guitar and newer recruit Andy Fairclough on keyboards.
Wednesday’s set surprisingly started with a B-side ‘Liza Radley’, (side B of ‘Begin!’). This was followed by ‘It’s entertainment’, so what ‘Eton Rifles’, when audience participation has increased significantly. On the chorus after Hastings sang “And we” the crowd joined in at Foxton’s “Rifles” Answer.
With the quality and depth of The Jam’s back catalogue, there were so many great tracks to choose from. Tubes like ‘Begin!’, ‘Town Called Malice’ and “Go Underground” were there alongside the B-sides like “Liza Radley” and ‘Sad for us’.
The unplugged set worked well, especially with newer songs (1981/82 is still relatively newer) from ‘Sound affects’ and ‘Gift’ Without surprise ‘It’s entertainment’ worked perfectly. If I’m hard, previous tracks from ‘In the city’ and ‘It’s the modern world by comparison, did not translate as acoustically. They lacked the angry vocals of young Paul Weller and the keyboards instead of drums on these tracks sounded a bit odd.
The addition of a keyboardist on bass from Foxton and acoustic guitar from Hasting sometimes sounded like “From The Style Council” with a replacement by Mick Talbot instead of Rick Buckler.
There was room in the set for a new non-Jam song, “Lulla”. A track from Foxton and Hastings’ upcoming album ‘Butterfly Effect’ planned for the fall about a spoiled woman who materially has everything, but has nothing that really matters in life.
Interspersed throughout are question and answer sessions led by Russell Hastings. These ranged from impossible to answer “What’s your favorite Jam song?” » to ridicule “What’s your favorite jam?” ». A question was asked by Steve Norman of Spandau Ballet, who was in the audience. There was a lot of fun in those interludes, especially when Foxton was asked what non-Jam song he would have liked to write. To which he replied ‘Collector”, with a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Beatles’ bassline on ‘Begin!’.
After ‘Saturday Children’, the final song of the main set, the entire audience was on their feet in a standing ovation. They remained standing during the encore of three songs. Well they were never gonna leave without playing The Jam’s first number one single ‘Go underground’.
Obviously, there’s no comparison to The Jam’s historic last gig at the Brighton Center in December 1982, and there shouldn’t be.
All in all, From The Jam produced a great evening of entertainment. It was great to hear live the great music of the first band that really marked me in my youth and the first band that I could say I was a fan of.
I didn’t need to worry about my pre-gig gigs. The quality of the material has stood the acoustic reading and the test of time. (“Saturday Children” may still work at Tesco, but Woolworths is gone.) Despite the seats, everyone was on their feet by the end of the performance. Also, Bruce Foxton is still a great bass player.
If you want to relive classic Jam tunes and some rarities you may have overlooked live, From The Jam has announced that they’ll be back in town to play The Center in December.
From The Jam are:
Russell Hastings (vocals and guitar)
Bruce Foxton (bass guitar and backing vocals)
Andy Fairclough – keyboards
From The Jam setlist: (which was a different running order than the one printed before the concert)
“to be someone”
“Sad for us” (B-side and a cover of The Who song)
“The Life of a Window”
‘Lula‘ (from the forthcoming Foxton and Hastings album ‘Butterfly Effect’)
“Little Soldiers Soldiers”
‘To slow down’ (Of ‘In the city’ album and song by Larry Williams, also recorded by the Beatles)
“Down the subway station at midnight”
‘Town Called Malice’
‘In the city’
The support came from Chris Popewho is best known as the guitarist and songwriter of Agreements. Rather than appearing with his band, Chris Pope gave a solo performance with just an acoustic guitar.
The Chords were formed in South East London in 1978 and Chris Pope joined the band after seeing their advertisement for musicians in the NME. Chords were part of the mod revival of the 1970s. Their early proponents included Paul Weller and Jimmy Pursey of Sham 69. Hence Chris Pope’s fit with the whole exhibit. Their first album, ‘So far’, achieved no. 30 in the UK Albums Chart in May 1980. After disbanding in 1981, they reformed and began touring again in 2010.
Chris Pope’s 11-song set included many of The Chords’ better-known tracks from the band’s early days, such as ‘Now Here We Go’, ‘The British Way of Life’ and ‘Maybe tomorrow’ alongside more recent figures such as ‘Listen to the radio’ and ‘Hey kids! Come the revolution’. The lyrics of the songs are based on observing life in London while shopping on the song. “Road to Portobello” or the daily commute on “The Man on the Northern Line”.
I was impressed with Chris Pope’s performance. An energetic unaccompanied set with quality lyrical songs, which transferred well from a mod guitar band to an acoustic solo set.