all photos by Andrew Markowitz.
As a music writer, I carry an arsenal of rubrics with me with which to measure the success or failure of a show. How did the crowd respond? How did the performance measure up against other bands in the genre? And so and so on. For the most part, the biggest gun I’ve got is my music nirvana test; close my eyes, let the club lights dance on the insides of my eyelids, and see if the music can or can’t take me to another place. These are all conscious thoughts I have at a show; when a band can get me truly experiencing their music rather than thinking about it, they are passing my ultimate test. It is rare when a band can meet and then blow past that high standard, but James at the 9:30 Club on Tuesday night did just that.
There are very few concerts that have brought tears to my eyes. When James came out for their second glorious encore to answer the emotional, joyous demands of the crowd-that-would-not-leave and launched into ‘Tomorrow’, I was shocked to discover that tears of joy and empathy were streaming down my cheeks. Great live music is as close to having religion as I get and concerts like this are what make me a believer. This concert was a transcendent good time and easily one of the very best of 2010.