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Rediscover James This Weekend

By Lizz Kannenberg in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 29, 2010 7:30PM


If you've never howled the "Awayyyyy-eeeee" chorus of James' omnipresent 1993 single "Laid" at a house party or in a bar, chances are you're a some sort of recluse. The Gen X megahit made the band momentarily famous in that one-hit-wonder way, and though the song lives on as a staple at wedding receptions the band itself spent the better part of the last 15 years in relative seclusion. Experimental albums and a greatest hits monstrosity barely cracked the modern rock Richter scale in the late '90s and mid-aughts, leaving James and its introspective frontman Tim Booth to rot on '90s comp albums alongside Positive K and Soul Asylum.

But it's a shame, because even if you never picked up later records like Millionaires or Hey Ma, the Laid album still stands as one of the best modern folk rock albums we've heard. Beneath the tumultuous sexual frustration of the title track lies a wealth of beautiful songs about growing up without privilege, fighting adulthood and navigating complicated personal relationships.

We're hoping that Booth and company will mine for deep cuts off Laid tonight at The Vic. The band is touring in support of the double album it released this year, The Morning After The Night Before, but we hope the night is decidedly nostalgic in tone.

If you plan to go, don't miss opener and fellow Brit Ed Harcourt. He's a master of subtle storytelling and has yet to disappoint us live.

Saturday, October 2 at The Vic, 3145 N Sheffield, 8:00 p.m., $24, 18+