We should thank our lucky stars for bands like From The Jam.
Groups such as FTJ, that purists sometimes decry as being pale substitutes for the ‘real thing’, do serve a very real and valuable purpose in keeping many band’s catalogues alive. And they – loudly and proudly – remind us of what magnificent songs these long defunct bands created which would otherwise be totally lost from our club and concert stages.
Of course, From The Jam have the added attraction of being able to boast of an actual member of the original trio being amongst their ranks, and Bruce Foxton still cuts an impressive figure as he pumps out those familiar basslines and takes his turn at the microphone.
The Jam attracted a dedicated following in their day and The Gov was filled with many old fans who knew every lyric to every tune, no matter how obscure, that the band offered up.
There is something very infectious about being exposed to collective euphoria, and it was impossible not to be swept up in the celebratory mood when the excitement of songs such as A Town Called Malice, Down At The Tube Station At Midnight, Start, Eton Rifles and In The City had The Gov chorus in feverish full voice. Grown men could be seen hugging strangers in ecstatic reverie as they reconnected with the long-lost adolescent adrenaline rush these tunes elicited.
Singer and guitarist, Russell Hastings, looking a lot like sixties pop chart regular, Joe Brown, had just enough of Paul Weller’s vocal inflection in his own vocal stylings to make the songs sound as vibrant and convincing as the originals did. He also had just the right amount of rock star swagger keep the energy levels high.
Drummer, Mike Randon, complementing Foxton’s driving basslines, turned in a terrific performance that anchored the songs and ratcheted up the rhythmic power quotient to near explosive levels at times.
The setlist had something to please all the fans – almost all of the original singles were given an airing, as were a healthy selection of tunes from Setting Sons which the band will be touring in its entirety across Europe later in the year. Hence, we were treated to magnificent renditions of songs such as Private Hell, Girl On The Phone, and the sublime Thick As Thieves, from that classic album.
Other highlights emerged during a short acoustic set mid-show that featured favourites such as The Butterfly Collector, English Rose and Smithers-Jones. That’s Entertainment, however, was delivered with an up-tempo full band treatment which was a delightful surprise.
It seems wrong to omit any of the songs that made the setlist from having a mention here because they were all delivered with a surprisingly high degree of fiery passion without any flat spots – so mention must be made of the great versions of David Watts, Saturday Kids, Going Underground and This Is The Modern World that the band gave us…wow!
From The Jam only played for an hour and a half, and they did not waste a single minute of it!
They say they are coming back late next year, so if you missed them this time out make sure you get along to see them on their return – or, if you happen to be in England this October, the band declared that anyone who contacts them through their social media site who attended this Adelaide show will have their name placed on the guest list at the door at any one of their UK shows…
Earlier in the evening, the lively and spirited Fistful Of Trojans delivered a crowd pleasing set of originals mixed with covers of songs by artists such as Booker T & The MGs and Prince Buster which got the crowd into the right spirit in readiness for the headliners. It’s always good to see a large crowd in front of the stage dancing and having a good time to the evening’s support act rather than just hanging back at bar or chatting out in the beer garden and Fistful Of Trojans had most people up and engaged with their appealing ska-funk.
From The Jam played at The Gov on Tuesday 24 September 2009.