Jim Bob live at The Greyhound in Beeston
‘This one’s for the young man at the back’ says the erstwhile Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine front man ‘but as it’s one of my gigs, I seriously doubt he’s very young’ and whilst it’s true that many in the audience tonight would look more at home in 40 Something T-Shirts rather than the classic 30 Something ones, their ample girths are squeezed into, it’s clear that the uber-talented post punk rebel rouser is still as playful as ever.
Unusually for a rock gig Jim starts proceedings by reading from a book – his book - the darkly hilarious Driving Jarvis Ham - the tour is part book launch part musical venture after all. What’s apparent from the ‘reading’ part of the gig is the ease in which the man wins the audience over using his wit, charm and self-deprecating humour but I suppose that’s what 20 odd years in the business will afford you.
Brand new songs like The Tesco Riots, Bands and the brilliant Ghost of Christmas Boring are given a welcome airing before we are treated to more familiar stuff like Is Wrestling Fixed? and Every Time a Church Bell Rings. ‘I haven’t rehearsed the old songs’ he quips ‘not because I don’t need to but because I can’t be arsed’. But oddly, the bare boned stripped down acoustic versions are refreshingly vibrant and seem to give older numbers a more ‘in the moment’ energy.
The fact that he is so adept in wordplay and song construction as demonstrated in audience requested material such as the heart-breaking Falling On A Bruise, chart botherer The Only Living Boy In New Cross and the sublime Johnny Cash, only make it even more galling that Carter USM seem to have been conveniently airbrushed out of 1990s pop history. But tonight there is no room for bitterness, it’s a party, and just in case we forget that, Jim’s brought along his own bubble machine. And as he belts out the last few lines of Sherriff Fatman, with each crowd member singing along, I’m reminded of a line from the film This is Spinal Tap, which itself was sampled on Carter’s Love album - ‘Have a good time, all the time’
Jim Bob performed at The Greyhound on Thursday 17 May 2012.