Thursday, October 19, 2006

Going solo with JDB


Photo by Toby Price.

Sometimes you feel slightly duty bound to go to certain things, and James Dean Bradfield's solo tour was such an event. It was a bit strange making my way to the gig last night without really feeling any excitement about seeing one of my last remaining heroes live, and in a venue a fraction of the size of places I'd previously been able to see the Manics. This state of apathy was mainly due to JDB's solo album being pretty average fare, and I was a bit worried the gig might be a damp squib. But it's JDB - I had to go.

As it happened, James was in fine fettle and the gig hit the spot. Although his solo songs don't really mean anything to me - not steeped in history or nostalgia like the Manics' back-catalogue - they took on a new lease of life live. But still, the obvious highlights were the Manics treats... From Despair To Where, This Is Yesterday, A Design For Life, Ocean Spray and most of all the spine-tingling closer No Surface All Feeling. I'd never imagined I would see Design For Life, definitive anthem that it is, played in a venue like Nottingham Rescue Rooms. We also got a great cover of Clampdown by The Clash (someone's put a good video of it on YouTube, featuring plenty of trademark JDB backward head flings and spinning hops). Marvellous.

The JDB photo was taken by photographer-in-chief Toby, perpetual snapper and documenter of all things splendid. He's like an upmarket, conscientious paparazzi man. If you go to any gig in the East Midlands you'll find him pushing past you to the front with an expensive lens in his hand and an 'I hate to do this to you, but I really have to' expression, before blocking your view for the rest of the gig. Click click click click click, click himself under indeed. Anyway, visit his online gig portfolio to see the rest of his fine work. But he's probably best known for his previous role as co-founder of our globally renowned film production unit, Pseudo Militia Productions, which was to blame for the Yes video in 2003 before sadly folding in 2004 due to gross financial irregularities. We've both moved on to smaller and worse things since.

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