I’m writing this blog on the way home from a stonkingly good gig in Dorking seeing From the Jam live in concert. Since forming in 2007, the band have gone from strength to strength playing the biggest venues in the UK and across Australia, Japan and New Zealand and the Dorking Halls in Surrey was packed with mods and rockers up for a great night with their favourite songs.
Billed as the Beat Surrender 40th Anniversary Tour, there’s something very special about seeing and hearing these songs in a live setting. As you know, I never got to see The Jam live, my discovery of their music being in 1992 with a love of Paul Weller Solo and then a deep dive into The Jam’s incredible back catalogue.
The Batman theme sparks up and then the band come on ripping straight into Away from the Numbers and Strange Town. Just brilliant!. The energy on stage is felt throughout the crowd which is soon pogoing along to an incredible live sound.
What follows is a blast through the very best of The Jam’s back catalogue with plenty of surprises thrown in for good measure – To Be Someone, Butterfly Collector and In the City being personal highlights.
You can’t get much better than an encore that features Tube Station, Ghosts, The Eton Rifles, Going Underground and Beat Surrender can you?.
There’s also something very special about the chemistry of frontman Russell Hastings (a massive fan of The Jam back in the day) and Bruce Foxton – the fella who was there through all of those releases ‘77-‘82 creating great music with Paul and Rick. Music that has left such a mark on people’s hearts and minds over the past 45 years (and probably their ears too given the volume of those gigs back in the day). It’s also fabulous to watch Bruce play that bass on stage too – his fingers dancing along the fret board to punch out those unmistakable riffs in his own unique style.
I highly recommend getting yourself to one of the gigs on this tour. Ticket info here.
I’m also delighted to have been given a sneak pre-release preview of Bruce and Russell’s third studio album together – The Butterfly Effect which is out on October 28th 2022. An album that we chatted about on my podcast chat with Russell way back in December 2020 but which has been delayed because of further covid lockdowns and serious illness (Russell had a heart attack earlier this year, with Bruce having a cancer scare).
Unable to tour during the pandemic, Russell has stated that having time to record was “quite a relief… We, like everybody else, were concerned about the future and were glad when we were allowed to get in the studio”, with Bruce adding that the process was “extremely creative and fun.”
That sense of fun is a recurring theme throughout the 12 tracks, with the duo bringing together their influences for a record packed full of joyous singalong moments and a journey through various genres.
Described by Bruce as “a collection of very melodic songs, with very different angles, yet it all ties together”, the tracks range from 60s pop to 70s Motown and Americana .
The majestic Lula was the first single from the album, and the one that we had an early preview to during the making of the album on social media. It was lovely to witness this as part of the live set in Dorking and it undoubtedly deserves its place in the show. It has been described by Russell as “A catchy pop song about a spoilt woman who seemingly has everything yet has nothing.” and you could hear this becoming a singalong favourite in time too.
Personal favourites on the album for me include Feet Off The Ground (“We listen to our heartbeats, We listen to our fears, we listen to our memories as the months turn into years”) – a really upbeat but emotional song on time passing and togetherness of a relationship (or friendship between the duo perhaps?).
Wanted – a song with so many beautiful textures “And we are wanted”…. hints of jazz even? – and perhaps even a moment of inspiration from Paul Weller’s Remember How We Started.
Circles would be the closest to what many would consider to be the traditional ‘sound of The Jam’ (if such a thing exists). A blistering-pop-anthem with angry guitars and it’s a song that you could immediately imagine sounded loud, fast and fierce in a live setting with the energy of the band dialled up to the max.
Time On Your Side – A big singalong chorus with a lovely Motown driven bass riff from Bruce and brass from Nicky Madern. You can’t beat a bit of hammond!.
Bruce and Russell both name The Beatles as a huge influence on their work – in fact Bruce talks about Paul McCartney being a big influence on him as a bass player on our upcoming podcast chat – these influences are no more is this apparent on the closing track Anything You Want – another that would sound great in a live setting – with its bouncy rhythm and psychedelic ending. I gather that Russell recorded the vocals for this track unknowingly with covid too.
The biggest compliment that I can give the new album is that it would be great to see and hear it done live as a gig – front to end – in full – perhaps with a couple of The Jam numbers as an encore – but in my mind it deserves a Foxton and Hastings show of it’s own… perhaps with a podcast chat with them together after the show to top it all off?.
The Butterfly Effect was released on 28th October 2022. You can order here.
Lula – 2022
Click your preferred podcast platform to listen…
From The Jam – A 1st Class Set – 2008
A 1st Class Set is a live album performed by From the Jam that was released back in 2008. The line up at this time featured The Jam bassist Bruce Foxton and drummer Rick Buckler with singer / guitarist Russell Hastings and Dave Moore on keyboards and guitar. Recorded at The Forum in London, it contains 25 tracks including A Town Called Malice, Going Underground, Strange Town, Ghosts and Pretty Green.
You can find it on Spotify here – https://open.spotify.com/album/7dgNmWaClou0Kq6wcDfWXC
Bruce Foxton – Back in the Room – 2012
Billed as a solo album from Bruce Foxton – Back in the Room also features Russell Hastings and Big Country’s Mark Brzezicki with Russell as a co-writer on the album too.
The LP reached number 21 in the independent album charts and was recorded at Black Barn (Paul Weller HQ) and even boasts a very special guest on three songs in Mr Weller himself. (Track 2 – Number Six, Track 4 – Window Shopping, Track 10 – Coming on Strong). Other guest musicians include Steve Cropper (Booker T & the MG’s/The Blues Brothers) and Spandau Ballet’s Steve Norman.
You can find it on Spotify here – https://open.spotify.com/album/44zQMvraFYGRp115QNzCDu
Bruce Foxton & Russell Hastings – Smash The Clock – 2016
Again recorded at Black Barn Studios, Smash the Clock featured 13 co-writes from Russell and Bruce with guest appearances from Paul Jones, Wilko Johnson and Paul Weller again, who contributed guitar and piano to a number of tracks. Black Barn Engineer, Charles Rees asked if the record had a brief. Russell said no, “it’s just a collection of great songs, let’s just get it down.”
Bruce says the meaning of title track ‘Smash The Clock’ is simply that “good music is ageless and timeless”.
You can find it on Spotify here – https://open.spotify.com/album/2p0DR2AsC9Vj6AtjWGEpV5
Bruce Foxton & Russell Hastings – From The Jam Live! – 2017
To celebrate 10 years of Russell and Bruce being on the road together, they decided to record and release a live album that really captured what they’re all about.
From The Jam Live! illustrates the very best of the band’s live performance, where the band and crowd were at one with each other, creating an exhilarating power-packed set that still echoes around the venues they play to this day!
The album features classics like In The City, Saturdays Kids, Start! and The Eton Rifles.
You can listen on Spotify here – https://open.spotify.com/album/6rtanVTzeBF5WDVfS2sqgh
Bruce Foxton & Russell Hastings – The Butterfly Effect – 2022
A note from Russell Hastings in 2020… “Bruce and myself are delighted to announce we are working with the wonderful Townsend Music on our brand-new Making Music project and are proud to reveal our new album The Butterfly Effect, set for release on October 28th 2022. As many of you know, we are usually on the road touring so studio opportunities don’t come up that often for us… nothing better than a good old pandemic to get us into the studio to lay down these great new songs!”
You can order the album at foxtonandhastings.tmstor.es
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