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Starsailor at Jabez Clegg

Thanks to Xfm’s Access All April, I found myself on Tuesday night stood in Jabez Clegg, which is a pretty small venue, watching Starsailor – who are a pretty big band...

Published on April 27th 2006.

Starsailor at Jabez Clegg

The last time I saw Starsailor, I was stood at the back of a crowded Apollo and they looked three feet high. Until that point, they had never really struck me as a band to get excited about – just another run of the mill Indie set up with some nice enough songs. My opinion of them however, totally changed after seeing them live - despite the fact that I saw them from the back of a considerably sized room – I was so carried away by their enthusiasm and obvious lust for performing that I have to confess that after the gig I had a bit of a ‘Starsailor phase’.

I can feel another one coming on.

On Tuesday night, I discovered that Starsailor aren’t three feet high at all, but are actually all fairly respectable and normal heights. That’s right. I was close enough to feel the sweat as it shook off the rather energetic James Walsh’s forehead. Everybody was. Thanks to Xfm’s Access All April, I found myself on Tuesday night stood in Jabez Clegg, which is a pretty small venue, watching Starsailor – who are a pretty big band.

The support act,The Weight, were impressive. Despite not coming good on their promise to hand out free EP’s (or did they? Did anyone else get one?) I was mesmerised by their gorgeous melodies and the lead singers’ even more gorgeous voice, which was simultaneously strong and delicate, and made my knees wobble. Well, until Mr Tall and his friends Mr Even-Taller and Miss Pretty-Tall-For-a-Girl came and stood directly in front of me and ruined the magic a little. I think that these people seek me out.

After a brief interval and a little comic relief from compere Paul Tonkinson, James Walsh appeared on the stage alone with a stripped down solo version of ‘Counterfeit’ before being joined by his Star Sailin’ bandmates. James’ voice is outstanding. There’s simply no other way of putting it.

“This bloke behind me is really doing my head in – he keeps pushing me” moaned my friend Hayley, before turning around grumpily to be greeted, not by a bloke, but by 25 stone of woman. At least, we think it was a woman. The She-He became our companion for the entire gig, pressing huge bosoms up against our backs and being kind enough to sing along to the songs very loudly in our ears, just in case we couldn’t hear the band for ourselves. And what a voice s/he had.

Anyway, back to the band. Starsailor on Tuesday were chirpy and playful, seeming more relaxed and confident than the Starsailor of old, playing a mixture of ‘Love is Here’ classics as well as a few offerings from their more mature second album ‘Silence is Easy’, and their most recent offering – the moody ‘On the Outside’, all interspersed with playful banter and general messing around on guitars.

An acoustic version of ‘Alcoholic’, was followed by a nod to former rivals Oasis in the form of a cover of ‘Some Might Say’, and renditions of ‘Born Again’, ‘Some of Us’ and ‘Poor Misguided Fool’. We were even treated to a techno version of ‘Four to the Floor’.

Starsailor ended their hour long set with an upbeat version of ‘Good Souls’ before appearing back onstage for an encore, spreading the love and getting the crowd singing along to ‘Silence is Easy’. Of course, the She-He behind us ‘sang’ louder than most. Just beautiful.

This was a great gig in a really intimate venue, for the penultimate XFM Acccess All April Event. Starsailor are definitely a band to see live. They get so much stick and bad press from industry know-it-alls, but I defy anybody to not be touched by James Walsh's enthusiasm, his awesome vocals and his gushing and infectious delight in performance.

Jayne Robinson
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