Tonight was a special night for all the aged mods in the south-west, the Public Rooms in Bodmin saw a famous Bruce grace the stage once again, no not Forsyth, Bruce Foxton one of the founding members of the mod group…The Jam.
Growing up in a household with a father who was mod crazy and played The jam records on repeat in the car, it was only a matter of time before I too became a fan of band and the mod scene. Obviously I will never be able to witness the magnitude that was the original line-up with Paul Weller, Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler, but the closest I will get to it is a tribute band with Foxton and that is good enough for me.
There are two support bands on tonight, the first of which are ‘A Day at the Races’, an indie-pop/alternative band from Bristol. This band were definitely a good choice for tonight’s gig as they have a Jam feel to them and are clearly influenced by the band as the lead singer is constantly saying that he can’t wait to see Foxton playing live later. As the trio play through their set, the crowd seem to enjoy the antics of the lead singers Weller style guitar playing and his Rikenbacker (which was Paul Weller’s) guitar. It is a real shame that the crowd were still in the process of entering the venue whilst ‘A Day at the Races’ were playing because they really kicked off the night with a bang.
The next support band up are a ska/funk band from Plymouth called ‘Land of the Giants’, who, although they do get the crowd moving throughout their set, the reason could be that most of the audiences alcohol level has dramatically risen since waiting and they are trying to get into the mood for dancing to the main event tonight. It is not that ‘Land of the Giants’ are a poor band, far from it, rather that they are perhaps too rocky to support a mod band and were on stage for far longer than they should have been as by now, at the age most of the crowd are, their legs have got to be aching.
Although The Jam may have beat surrendered in 1982 the atmosphere at this venue makes the mod-era come alive again, as fans in Harrington jackets, Bowling shoes, Parkas and Fred Perry t-shirts walk through the door. As I look around the room I see the generation who grew up with and loved The Jam, tonight shows that they are still devoted to one of the greatest bands in music after all these years.
The crowd are not waiting for too long before From The Jam enter the stage, to thunderous applause and cheers. They jump straight into ‘Down in the Tube Station at Midnight’ which gets the entire room singing and jumping along. As they play through their classic tracks, which even the most unknown to The Jam will know, Foxton brings the energy of the 70s to the show with his signature flying kicks and trendy polk-a-dot shirt with fish tail suit.
The band make great interaction with the audience, thanking them for the large turnout and commenting that they like coming to this part of the country because of all the lovely people.
They don’t just stick to The Jam songs, they also delve into a ‘Kinks’ cover, and a track from Foxton’s recent album, the audience still go wild though even if they do not know them. Continuing with the show they blast through great tracks such as: Going Underground, That’s Entertainment, The Butterfly Collector and David Watts. They also play ‘Ghosts’, not a very well known track but a ballad which gets a wonderful sing-a-long after the guitarist and singer, Russell Hastings, says “all together now”.
After they walk off stage, chants of “Brucie” beckon an encore, and they do not disappoint as they come back on to finish off the night with: In The City, Beat Surrender and A Town Called Malice.
This gig just shows how The Jam was not just Weller, but all the members were vital to the band’s success, especially Foxton with his bass lines which in most cases lead all of their greatest tracks…without Foxton their would have been no Jam.
It’s too bad that they had to break up, however the spirit of The Jam will live forever in nights like this one.