James returning to Newcastle venue for first time in over 30 years

James frontman Tim Booth.
James frontman Tim Booth.

It’s anything but the end of the world for fans of James now the alternative rock act have announced plans for their first show at Newcastle City Hall in over 30 years.

The band last played at the Northumberland Road venue back in March 1985 as a support act for fellow Manchester band the Smiths and haven’t been back since, though they have played at just about every other venue of note the city has to offer in the meantime.

The Smiths have long since been and gone, having called time on their five-year career in 1987, and James have also been and gone, having split up in 2001 after 19 years together, but they’ve been reunited since 2007 and look set to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Not only have they got their 12th full-length album coming out in March, but they’ll also be hitting the road a couple of months later to promote it, including their return to Newcastle City Hall on Tuesday, May 17.

Tickets for their Tyneside show cost £38 or £47. For details, go to newcastlecityhall.org or www.wearejames.com

Their 15-date British tour will also take in London, Leeds, Hull, Bristol, Southend, Glasgow, Birmingham, Nottingham, Llandudno, Bournemouth, Norwich and their home town of Manchester.

Girl at the End of the World, their next LP, will be released by BMG Recordings on Friday, March 18.

It’s the seven-piece act’s follow-up to last year’s La Petite Mort, a No 11 hit. That was their first proper album since 2008’s comeback set, Hey Ma, a No 10 hit, though they did release a couple of mini-LPs in the meantime, both in 2010 – The Night Before, a No 20, and The Morning After, a No 19.

Girl at the End of the World’s 12 tracks have been produced by Max Dingel and long-term collaborator Brian Eno.

“Bands talk about that difficult second album, but it’s the 14th one that’s the real trickster,” said frontman Tim Booth.

“As always with James, it’s a collaborative process, allowing ample room for improvisation, intuition, skill and dumb luck.

“From the outside, our process looks like chaos, but chaos is our friend, and we have a history that gives us confidence that something magical will eventually appear.

“Most of my best lyrics are unconscious typos, so don¹t ask me what it’s about. Your projection is as good as mine.

“This was perhaps the most difficult and stressful album we have ever made. I hope you find it as rewarding as we do.”

Bassist Jim Glennie added: “The essence of James is live. The pleasure never diminishes.

“I can’t wait for us to get our hands on these songs in front of the best audience a band can have.”

Besides Booth and Glennie, James currently consist of guitarists Larry Gott and Saul Davies, Mark Hunter on keyboards, drummer David Baynton-Power and trumpeter Andy Diagram.

Their last show in Newcastle was at its O2 Academy in November last year, but they did play elsewhere in the region more recently, at Hardwick Hall, near Sedgefield in County Durham, in August.

They’ve also played numerous shows at the city’s Mayfair, Riverside, university and Metro Radio Arena, as well as the Sage Gateshead, since their visit to the City Hall.

James have sold more than 12 million albums worldwide, their biggest hits being 1990’s Gold Mother, 1992’s Seven and 1999’s Millionaires, all No 2s. They’ve also notched up four top 10 singles – Sound, a No 9 in 1991, and She’s a Star, a No 9 in 1997, as well as Sit Down twice over, a No 2 in 1991 and a No 7 in 1998.