GIG REVIEW – THE JAM – BIRMINGHAM

The Jam at Barbarellas, Birmingham, June 1977

ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR The Jam begin their first headlining tour. Now, there are some silver tongued scribes around gonna coax ya into believing the band ain’t ready for it. Misconception time.

If your album’s a hit you’re ready to headline. Embryonic stage my arse The Jam cut it. Those guideless souls who would have you think otherwise are conditioned by years of top heavy technology manifested into worthless / priceless on stage equipment used by the likes of Zep and ELP.

Sure, that may be okay for a while but it ends up leaving a sour taste in your mouth not to mention dazed listeners.

Anyway, last week The Jam opened at Barbarellas.

Barbarellas I like. It’s a disco in every sense of the word haunted by pre-Ballroom Blitz Sweet tunes and Jonathan King illegitimate songs. Natch, it’s garish – but it’s not difficult to get a drink.

It’s Jubilee night but the band come on in the black suits singing ‘Art School’ and then try to get the mostly immobile crowd to scratch a toe for the next four numbers – ‘I’ve Changed My Address’, ‘Modern World’ (a new song with more than a passing interest to ‘Pictures Of Lily’), ‘Slow Down’ and ‘Carnaby Street’.

No dice.

Then ‘In The City’ and the Brum amoebas multiply. You can tell they’ve livened up. This is a song called ‘London Girl’ says Paul in his flat diffident way.

“Get ’em off,” screams a girl from the back.

Rock ‘n’ roll rejoices with ‘Sounds In The Street’, ‘Time For Truth’, ‘Midnight Hour’ and ‘Away From The Numbers’, still my personal album pop picker.

The last song particularly reveals the harmonic incisiveness of Paul and bassist Bruce Foxton. The band are in top form but after the two encores a reprisal of ‘In The City’, ‘Batman’ and The Who’s ‘So Sad About Us’ they’re knackered.

There’s a long road ahead but The Jam will make it. No sweat. It’s those that think they won’t I feel sorry for.
(Record Mirror, June 1977)

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