We have all had those moments during a gig when you realise you are experiencing something very special. The 1,200-strong audience joining Messrs Foxton and Hastings in asking “Didn’t we have a nice time?” during “To Be Someone” was the first of many such moments on Friday night. The second date of From The Jam’s “All Mod Cons” tour, celebrating 40 years since the album’s release, saw the band arrive on the South East coast at the Winter Gardens in Margate, a town historically associated with Mod culture and scooter runs. Little wonder then that shortly into the band’s set, we found ourselves immersed in something much more than sound, as we were transported back to a time when a generation first found their thoughts and lives being echoed in the music and lyrics of three angry young men from Woking.
Whether it was being part of a swaying crowd, singing along to “English Rose”, or feeling the apocalyptic ending of “‘A’ Bomb in Wardour Street” assaulting you to the core, the entire performance was a sensory roller coaster, which left us on that unique, exhilarating high only quality live music can produce.
When the band had completed the album’s track list, they took us through a variety of The Jam’s huge back catalogue, playing songs including “Pretty Green”, “Smithers-Jones”, “A Town Called Malice” and “Going Underground” – truly something for every fan, no matter which Jam album is your favourite. Although, I would argue that trying to pick my favourite album of theirs is like trying to choose a favourite child – unfair and impossible!
Anyone who has seen From The Jam live will be familiar with the band’s energy fuelling every show. Put together Bruce’s mid-air jumps, Mike Randon drumming out beats that hit your very soul, Andy Fairclough losing himself in the keys of the Hammond organ, and Russell delivering the songs with a passion perfectly reflecting the attitude with which they were written, and you have a night to remember. Add the timeless “All Mod Cons” album, plus an array of tracks representing the band’s best output, and you have a night you will never forget.
Supporting From The Jam for most of the tour are the rather fabulous Nine Below Zero. Joining founder members Dennis Greaves and Mark Feltham on stage, and proving that talent really does run in the family, was Sonny Greaves on drums. A formidable on-stage force, the band provide the ideal complement to the main event.
Chatting with the guys after the gig, I told Bruce how much I had enjoyed the evening and found it hard to believe it was only the second night of the tour. Resting his arm on my shoulder, and feigning exhaustion, he laughed “I’ve had a long time to practice”.
As they say, practice makes perfect – something I have to agree with after Friday night’s performance.
From The Jam are touring “All Mod Cons” through to the middle of December. Be sure to catch them while you can.
For more information and to book tickets, visit the From The Jam website.