From the Jam at O2 Academy Bournemouth 9.7.2022 with special guests, The Selecter
My fourth From the Jam gig. No, I never saw the Jam: only Weller. I will be brief as my last FTJ blog put them in personal context. That was at The Brook in 2021, an acoustic show.
A familiar local venue for me as well, so extensive details on that are updated from my visits here in my O2 Academy Bournemouth blog.
The Selecter – tonight’s special guests
What a bonus eh? I’ve always liked those first two albums, Too Much Pressure (1979), Celebrate the Bullet (1980) but I didn’t go beyond that. My appreciation was aided I guess by living in Coventry for many years, their 2-Tone hometown. I didn’t see them live back in 79/80 and have had to content myself with buying the live vinyl album of a Coventry gig of that time, at what is now the library (a recent Record Store Day special).
It wasn’t until 2016 at Victorious Festival I saw them live. By this point it was originals Pauline Black and Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson remaining.
On a few years and we turned up early doors for their gig at The Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea (me and now wife Sally). I bought Pauline Black’s excellent autobiography ‘Black by Design’ and had a chat. Later, she dedicated a song to me which was one hell of a surprise mid-set.
So on to tonight and we are down the front, early in, a row behind the barrier. 8pm and the place is still filling during their set. (Here with wife Sally and bro-in-law Rich tonight.)
After the introductory Avengers Theme, the bouncy 3 Minute Hero. Hard to keep still. An enthusiastic start.
The band look to be having a party and it rubs off. Some great sax and organ sounds accompany the guitars and a returned original drummer, all providing the rich ska backdrop for Pauline and Gaps to vocalise onto. Lots to watch. I find myself mesmerized by their dancing feet. Smart variations of Doc Marten footwear.
Missing Words was always going to be a top one for me, mid-set. That’s followed by the ska anthem cover Last Train to Skaville. The Selecter get a 13-song set, only one less than From the Jam so it is a double header effectively.
Before what was their biggest single, On My Radio (it reached number 8 in the UK chart), Pauline says “put your phones away – no one needs to see another video of this one.” Guess not. Just enjoy it.
To finish: Too Much Pressure, merging into another classic cover, Pressure Drop. An encore maybe? No, that’s it.
From the Jam tonight
This is a Sound Effects tour, celebrating that album. They dodge the idea of playing all the songs from that one, in order, opting instead for seven tracks from it, starting with Pretty Green.
I particulary enjoy Start, Man in the Cornershop and the wonderful That’s Entertainment.
Russell Hastings tells of his recent heart attack and stent fitting. Scary stuff. He checks his wrist monitoring device and says he’s already exceeding the limit after just a few songs, but on he goes. Jam original Bruce Foxton has had his own medical problems and procedures so these boys have had a worrying year. You wouldn’t think it looking at them performing tonight.
Russell Hastings’ voice is amazingly similar to a younger Weller – shut your eyes and yoù get your own time machine.
Leaving Sound Effects behind, the set shifts into top gear: Strange Town – with a reminder as to what an A-Z Guide Book was – David Watts, Town Called Malice and A-Bomb in Wardour Street.
The magnificent Eton Rifles ends the main set. Can it get better? Yup…one of the greatest songs written in my lifetime, in my nostalgic mind: Down in the Tubestation at Midnight. Weller has left us with all this but it’s so hard to squeeze a Jam track out if him these days From the Jam are the best shout for a Jam fan’s night out. To end Heatwave. Great night.