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JIM BOB - The Arts School, Glasgow 12.10.2019

Oh how I’ve waited for this night…let me explain; Carter mean a lot to me. Some of my best friendships have been founded on a shared love of the band, the lyrics appeal to my love of word play and the daily grind is somewhat lessened by the fact that my alarm is (though I say it myself) a rather slickly edited “Crimestoppers A’ Go Go”…I chopped out about a minute and a half for use on a radio show years ago and I promise you can’t hear the edit it’s that good. So, needless to say, this was something I was totally looking forward to.

In the shadow of the remains of the Mackintosh Building, we find ourselves gathering at The Art School to watch Jim Bob And The Hoodrats, ably supported by the brilliant Dan Donelly. Everywhere I look, there are people with grins, sporting the classic Carter t-shirts from my youth and I have to admit to feeling a little regretful that tonight I decided to try and stand out and so went for the classic B*Witched ’98 World Tour tee. It’s only a little regret mind for, however cool those shirts may look, nothing beats a denim t-shirt for both music credibility and panache!

I arrive a little into Dan’s set (yes I know, my tardiness is becoming an issue but, in fairness, there are some very steep hills in Glasgow and I am a (ahem) ‘chunky’ fella) as he’s playing “Break Even”. It’s a brilliant set, with Dan playing guitar along with a backing track, and it’s laced with great songs such as “I Don’t Care” and “Diamonds In The Rough”. His last song, the title of which I didn’t catch, is done purely acoustically – no mics, no PA – and is ridden with swear words…it’s fantastic, funny and puts a real smile onto your face as we head into the interval.

With the stage bathed in a glorious red, we are treated to an eclectic mix from JIM BOB – ranging from The Buzzcocks and The Skids, to “Hold Me Close” by David Essex, the theme songs from “One Foot In The Grave” and “Only Fools and Horses” and even (and this brings a huge grin to my face) “When Will I Be Famous” by Bros…the man has taste! Finally, as “All By Myself” emerges from the PA, The Hoodrats take to the stage and then, as we all croon along to Eric Carmen’s classic, Mr. James Robert Morrison takes to the stage. Now at this point I have no idea what to expect – it’s been a long time since my introduction to Carter; long enough that I have fears about how the songs will sound…let’s face it, we’ve all aged and I have seen a lot of bands where the singers’ voice has deteriorated over the years, so I brace myself…and then the very same voice that welcomed me on “Everytime a Church Bell Rings” is singing “The Mufty Day Riots” at me now. Cue sigh of relief.

The next ninety minutes pass far quicker than I would have liked, with gems from his solo career, Jim’s Super Stereoworld and, of course, the Carter catalogue – “Stuff The Jubilee”, “My New Walk”, “Senile Delinquent”, “Lean On Me I Won’t Fall Over” among the songs that fly by, all accompanied by the crowd singing their hearts out. Then, the Hoodrats exit stage right, and Jim Bob begins his ‘Sing-a-long’ acoustic part of the set…filled with classics like “Midnight on the Murder Mile” (complete with audience backing vocals), “Anytime Anyplace Anywhere”, “A Prince in a Paupers Grave”, “The Only Living Boy In New Cross” and “After The Watershed”…which Jim Bib was at pains to emphasise purely coincidentally followed a brief mention of a certain member of the Royal Family.

Chris from The Hoodrats joins him on stage for a few songs, including a simply stunning piano and vocal rendition of “Good Grief Charlie Brown”. The rest of the band emerges for the last song of the set “Angelstrike!” which is loud and ballsy and just fabulous.

The encore comes swiftly (just enough time for me to baulk at the price of a can of juice!) and starts with “Sheriff Fatman” which has us all singing along, arms in the air followed by “Sealed with a Glasgow Kiss” (well, how could they not?). Then, as bubbles erupt from the wings, we end with “Touchy Feely” which has us all singing along before Mr. Spoons (everyone’s favourite roadie) launches a couple of beach balls into the audience and then proceeds to instigate some vigorous arm waving, the like of which has surely not been seen since the 1988 Weston-super-Mare Radio 1 Roadshow! And then the lights come on and we make our way outside, into the Glasgow night. This has been one of those gigs that just reaffirms why you love live music – the sound was perfect, the band were as tight as they come, my throat is sore from all the singing and, even better…it’s downhill back to the car.

Review - Chris Watson

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