Newcastle City Hall
We want Jam!
THE RECORDS are an excellent idea that just doesn't come off in practice. Formed by drummer Will Birch and guitarist Johnny Wicks after the demise of The Kursaal Flyers, the notion was to fuse all sorts of influence to make modern pop music. The Byrds, The Beatles, The Searchers and many more played with the intensity of the New Wave. A super wheeze that is let down on several counts.
Instrumentally the band are fine but the vocals are another matter. The people they are emulating all had strong singers but The Records haven't got anyone in that league. Also, with a couple of exceptions the material doesn't quite make it. Tim Moore's 'Rock 'N' Roll Love Letter' is a great song — the best the band played — but they haven't got it right. Their arrangement is taken almost exactly from The Bay City Rollers' version, even down to the guitar solo but they simply don't do it as well. 'Starry Eyes', a sound similar to The Byrds' 'So You Wanna Be a Rock 'N' Roll Star' and The Hot Rods' 'Do Anything You Wanna Do' is the combo's best self-penned number and it's a pity that the rest aren't as good.
The Jam, though, are something else. With the mod revival of the past few months it's starting to look as though the terrific trio were several years ahead of their time.
They've got it down just right. Dressed in different coloured suits, with Bruce Foxton as sharp as a razor in grey with matching shirt and tie. The Jam even include a Motown cover (Martha and the Vandellas' 'Heatwave') in their set, the way the mod bands of twelve years ago used to. They've come a long way over the past twenty-four months. They no longer go full belt from start to finish, with no breathing spaces.
There's now light and shade and songs with real tunes. Paul Weller gets a blistering splintered sound from his Rickenbacker which is complemented perfectly by Rick Buckler's rock-steady drumming and Foxton's melodic up-front bass. He must be the most effective bass player of the past couple of years. Not only that, he has a neat line in footwork as well. Is Bruce Foxton the John Travolta of the New Wave?
The All Mod Cons tracks worked the best with 'Down In The Tube Station At Midnight' being particularly successful with (you guessed it) train sound effects and green neon lighting that made the band look ever so slightly like three slimmed-down Hulks. Needless to say they went down very well and deservedly so.
Robertsons would have beer delighted to hear two thousand people chanting 'We want Jam' so fervently.
Rick O'Shea, Pop Star Weekly, 17 May 1979