Monday 11 July 2016

From the Jam, Guildford 24th June 2016

For a moment I felt like the student I could have been...

I was standing in the Guildford University Student Union bar listening to a "Town Called Malice" being played at 10 to the dozen (that's an odd phrase, isn't it? Suggest LESS than you'd expect rather than more!) amongst a load of people about the same age.

Up on stage were Bruce Foxton and a moodily handsome, but sulky fellow performer giving their all.

But wait...

The people around me were rather old, weren't they and now I think about it, scissor kick or not, Bruce Foxton was looking a little older too...

And whilst there's something VERY Weller-esque about the lead singer, he's got grey hair and he's really not as sulky as Paul Weller and... I never WAS a student...

No, well into my 50s, I'd joined a group of, mostly dedicated, Jam fans to see "From The Jam", the name Bruce Foxton and Russell Hastings (not Weller, after all) perform under, in aid of "Wake Up Woking" at the Student Union at Guildford University.

There were a couple of support bands, the first presumably students, but OK, and the second lot I suspect I should have known, but I didn't, as they were very competent, but well into their late 50s and 60s on the whole.

Of course, like everyone else I was there to see Foxton 'from the Jam' (I guess he got fed up with saying "I'm Bruce Foxton from the Jam") and when they blasted straight into "A Town Called Malice" (probably my favourite Jam track) it was clear that the reports I'd heard of them being a great night out were true.

The pace was frenetic and unrelenting throughout. Foxton's looking quite old these days (Hell, we all are!), if I'm honest, but he had seemingly undimmed energy up on stage, even throwing in a few of those trademark scissor kicks.

Hastings is a great foil, looking a lot like Weller, but never straying into pastiche, he offers something a little different, but, whilst for some not the 'real' thing I'm sure, none the worse for that for me.

The drummer, no longer the original Jam drummer (allegedly upset at Foxton's latter day reconciliation with Weller, but who knows?), played his part faultlessly and the energy was infectious and intoxicating.

Through, "David Watts", "Smithers Jones", "When You're Young" and "Start!" they hammered on, I'm sure never sounding any better in their youthful heyday.

A few solo Foxton numbers are included, too and warmly received, but not as deliriously as the "Jam" hits.

To everyone's enjoyment the main set finishes with "Eton Rifles", seemingly more apt today than it was when current!

There's a few moments pause whilst the crowd demand the inevitable encore and they're back with "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight", "In the City" and end on "Going Underground", leaving those 'going home' happy, ears ringing and recalling when they were university age...

Setlist (From an earlier gig on the same tour, but the same, I think)

Town Called Malice
To Be Someone (Didn't We Have a Nice Time)
David Watts
Pretty Green
The Butterfly Collector
But I'm Different Now
Boy About Town
When You're Young
Saturday's Kids
Now the Time Has Come
Picture and Diamonds
That's Entertainment
Liza Radley
Slow Down
Man in the Corner Shop
The Eton Rifles

Down in the Tube Station at Midnight
In the City
Going Underground

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