From the Jam to the enjoyment of the massed ranks

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From The Jam

Preston 53 Degrees

Like the night of the summer solstice itself, this compelling gig was over far too quick, yet in a short space of time this winning trio packed in so much quality.

It’s been five years since I last saw bassist Bruce Foxton and cohort Russ Hastings at this UCLan venue, then as a four-piece From The Jam with original member Rick Buckler on drums.

A lot’s changed since, but the three-piece dynamic proves this ensemble’s power even more, with recently-recruited drummer Tom Van Heel a laudable addition.

Hastings is no karaoke Paul Weller, despite the vocal similarities and guitar style, while Foxton still offers great harmonies and wondrous bass lines. They combined to wonderful effect recently on Back in the Room, Foxton’s first solo album in almost 30 years, with two of those songs given an airing at Preston , the superb Number Six and Window Shopping.

But most of this audience came to hear the classics, and From the Jam use that original band spirit to great effect.

They came on to the sound of the underground – late ‘70s style – in Down in the Tube Station at Midnight, The Modern World and Kinks cover David Watts, and from there the hits kept coming.

Going Underground was another high, before a storming Larry Williams cover Slow Down, and more reflective hidden gem The Butterfly Collector.

There was also Foxton’s lead on Smithers-Jones, the ever-powerful Thick as Thieves, while Northern Soul tribute Non-Stop Dancing was dedicated to cancer-battling R’n’B inspiration Wilko Johnson.

After the haunting Ghosts, That’s Entertainment raised the tone, It’s Too Bad and Who cover So Sad About Us taking us to a mighty Eton Rifles, Start, Strange Town and When You’re Young.

They came back once more for a show-topping In The City and A Town Called Malice, giving a collective bow before they headed into what was left of this short but highly-memorable night.

Star rating: 9

Malcolm Wyatt