Venue: The Cockpit
Author: Angry from Leeds

The Cockpit is typically crowded as we enter, a few minutes before James Yorkston & The Athletes take the stage. They come on and introduce themselves, saying that they’re glad to be here. They are a 3-piece: guitar, double bass and a third guy playing squeeze box and slide guitar. It’s gentle, country-influenced music, which, I have to say is somewhat mismatched with M&B’S soul-influenced rock.

I can’t really see much audience crossover and whoever was thinking they’d be appropriate needs their musical knowledge looking at. It’s not that they’re bad, beacuse they’re not, but they just don’t fit in this environment: they need some smoky pub somewhere on the edge of town, or better still in the middle of nowhere where the audience can appreciatively clutch pints of Guinness or mild to their chests and listen to some authentic music. But, for this, they are about as well-matched as McAlmont & Butler would be at a National Front benefit gig.

The first song goes on forever; the band clearly communicating with each other, but judging by the conversations going on stage-front, not with the crowd. At the song’s end, the bassist calls for the fan at the side of the stage to be turned off. The second song also goes on too long, and the band are looking despondent. At the end of this song, James Yorkston calls out: “Fuck this for a game of soldiers, we’re playing one more song for ourselves and then we’re off!” Charming, but not unexpected if you’d looked at their body language, facing away from the audience and sulking. I was willing to give them time until this moment of petulance and had indeed been telling my wife I thought the were pretty good. However, now I think they’re just spoiled brats and can’t see them lasting the tour as they don’t deserve it.