Thursday, February 17, 2011

'77 Sulphate Strip by Barry Cain (Ovolo Books 2007)

The Jam

Royal College of Art, London

It's a godawful small affair . . .

Stage as long as Platform six at Victoria station. Baggageless porters The Jam 40 feet apart and monitorless. Full house. Lights! The Tyla Gang before and the Cimarrons after.

An artless audience at the Royal College of Art show their appreciation of the white-soul boys up there on the stage with the huge Union Jack backdrop depicting the three moods The Jam take you through at a gig - red hot expanding into white heat, contracting into teenage blue.

In case you’ve forgotten, guitarist Paul Weller, bassist Bruce Foxton and drummer Rick Buckler are The Jam. They are not, I repeat not a recycled Who. They write concise, contemporary songs like ‘ln The City’, ‘Bricks & Mortar' and 'I’ve Changed My Address’ enhancing the overall effect with a shrewd selection of old material 'Batman’, ‘So Sad About Us’ and ‘Midnight Hour'. The result? A well-equipped show; incisive, dynamic, piebald. Black suits, white lights, black ties, white shirts, black thoughts, white rock. They won't blow it now.

The Jam always come across as much younger than other bands, like Brian Kidd in a team of Bobby Charltons. They have the pace and the sneer - Paul Weller could hardly be described as ‘this smiling man’. He drinks but refuses to take drugs on the grounds that they are immoral, debilitating and, well, uncool. Drug-induced confidence is unnecessary for the cool dude that's Paul Weller. But he gets more hangovers that way.

Paul is cool because he's a man with a genuine talent who hasn't quite realised it yet. And that's when the good stuff comes.

1 comment:

Darren said...

According to this link, the gig reviewed was dated March 25th, 1977. No mention of Tyla Gang or the Cimarrons, though.

This review by Cain originally appeared within the pages of Record Mirror. I guess, by his own account, Cain was the paper's punk correspondent.