Setting for heart of the Sons

Bruce Foxton of From The Jam
Bruce Foxton of From The Jam

Music from the jam

Preston, 53 Degrees

A late ‘70s/early ‘80s soundtrack preceded the arrival onstage of From The Jam, running into The Gift’s upbeat instrumental Circus as bass hero Bruce Foxton, guitarist/vocalist Russell Hastings and drummer Steve Barnard took the stage.

Within seconds, there was a ringtone, Russ asked ‘shall we answer that phone?’ and we were off. Setting Sons – the album played in its entirety to mark 35 years since release – side one, track one, Girl on the Phone.

It was pretty much non-stop from there, transported back in time to a revered LP, the band soon augmented by Tom Heel on keyboards, a regular Paul Weller associate.

And despite battling bugs and after a nightmare journey north, Weller’s often-sublime lyrics – perhaps a little better appreciated all these years on – were given the respect they deserved.

Through Thick as Thieves, Private Hell, Little Boy Soldiers, Wasteland and Burning Sky, this 1979 classic was delivered with the right mix of angst and colour.

Bruce shone on Smithers-Jones, a live staple for so long, while Russ pleaded for help on the evocative Saturday’s Kids and got it in spades from a devoted audience.

What’s more, many of the faces out there were surely too young to appreciate it all first time round.

You always expect to hear The Eton Rifles from this much-loved collective, but they exceeded themselves on an extended mix.

And the album’s finale, Martha Reeves’ Heatwave was delivered at almost break-neck speed, with plenty of fire.

While Bruce did his thing, Russ proved his value in the Weller role, and Tom proved a mighty addition, Steve ‘Smiley’ Barnard was also a joy to watch at his kit, and a fair replacement for Rick Buckler.

Beyond Setting Sons, the band gave us Going Underground, When You’re Young and Strange Town, all going down a storm, as did Larry Williams’ floor-filler Slow Down, first borrowed for In the City.

Bruce was soon leading us into another inspired cover, The Kinks’ David Watts, the Mod in-crowd impressed.

The pace briefly dropped for a poignant Butterfly Collector, before a thrilling climax with Start and a peerless That’s Entertainment.

Meanwhile, Bruce voiced appreciation for the doomed venue itself, while Russ told us their reception had more than made up for a nine-hour trip from the South Coast.

The band returned for three more high points, All Mod Cons’ To Be Someone and Down in the Tube Station at Midnight, followed by A Town Called Malice, every word echoing around the room, as well as down those tracks.

Malcolm Wyatt