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James Madden (Live Review @The Jacaranda)


J. Madden
J. Madden

There was a live show the other day from Merseyside’s hottest bachelor, and you could tell because women were queueing up and screaming his name from a mile down the street. The line of smoking hot ladies trailed all the way past the L1 boulevard and even had some of them emerging from the river Mersey. People had his face tattooed onto theirs. It was fucking creepy. But what else would you expect when the name being chanted was ‘James Madden’ (or sometimes ‘J Madden’).


In support of his new EP, Slow Illumination, he played a lovely live show at the Jacaranda. Someone at the venue was spreading rumours about him, and loads of people kicked the absolute fuck out of them. Everyone agreed that this was the right thing to do, as it was actually a really nice night, and spreading rumours is childish. They weren’t even true. If anyone tells you James Madden was arrested for dressing too nicely, they’re lying. He was given a slap on the wrist.


The new EP is a gorgeous entourage of tracks, full of melancholic bliss, and if you want to check it out, you don’t need my permission. It’s on Spotify and Netflix Music and Amazon Prime Music and Disney Plus music. It’s on Paramount Plus music. I reviewed a track off it a while ago, and gave it ten out of ten, even though we don’t use a numerical rating system. I literally just gave it that in my head because I liked it so much.


Due to the uncompromising nature of the bus, which arrived about 30 minutes late, I did actually miss the first act, Laura J Martin. I heard from everyone there that she was actually really good though, which is a real shame for me, but cool for everyone else. I heard there was some serious flute action going on at one point, something I would’ve really enjoyed by the sound of it. Kind of fucked up for the bus to do that, really.



I listened to her new single, ‘Prepared’ when I got back though, and it was really good. Very ethereal stuff, I felt like I was floating on a cloud listening to it. The synths are otherworldly. I’ve been watching The Curse recently and it sounded a bit like a less creepy version of the soundtrack to that at first. Afterwards though it moves more into Kate Bush territory, but it sounds amazing. Definitely check out her recorded stuff, and her live sets, that I’ve been told are wicked, and I would like to see next time.


The Hermit played next. They were a very quiet, restrained band, with what looked like a banjo, or something of that ilk. It sounded incredibly lush and was almost hypnotising. Each moment gradually trickled into the next, seamlessly blending each part of the song. It was genuinely lovely. Unfortunately someone had left the door open and at a particularly quiet moment you could quite loudly hear ‘Take Me Out’ by Franz Ferdinand playing upstairs, which is a good song, but probably didn’t really fit here. You can’t blame the band though (and I wouldn’t dare), so I instead give them credit for their wonderful music.



James Madden could play James Bond in the next 007 film. He probably will. His set is epic and true. He plays through gems like ‘Two Birds’ and ‘The Pool of Emotion the Size of An Ocean’, with the dignity of an artist, and by God, he is one! At one point Ryan holds his mic in place from the audience (the mic was slipping) and it looks a bit like a parody of the painting of God and Adam (?) touching fingers except with, like, indie musicians.



Madden shows off his skills in the dungeon of notes when descending to the lower frets of his guitar. We’re all impressed, I checked, and everyone agreed it was cool. He has a big smile on his face for ages and quips it’s like a birthday party for himself. It is a bit, except he has to sell his own merch at the end. If someone did that at their own birthday party, I’d think they were weird, but in the context of doing it at the gig, somehow, it just seemed normal.


After an amazing night, I walked out into the street and was hit and killed by the bus I bad mouthed at the start.


Slow Illumination is out now!

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