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Wendy James - Live Room, Manchester, 3/6/2016

  by Vanessa Lourenco

published: 21 / 7 / 2016

Wendy James - Live Room, Manchester, 3/6/2016


Ex-Transvision Vamp singer Wendy James returns to the live music arena with a brand new LP, ‘The Price of the Ticket’. Vanessa Lourenco (words) and Melanie Smith (photos) report back from the Manchester leg of the UK tour

It’s been almost 30 years since Transvision Vamp was formed – punk-pop-underground-garage-rock with a rebellious harsh tone of pink. The band peaked from late 80’s to early 90’s with their singles “I want your love” and “Baby, I don’t care”. Topping the charts all over the world gave James the status of pop rock pin-up princess, with a legion of fans that remain loyal to this day. The band split in 1993, but James kept connected to the whole universe she’s helped to create. Reminiscing about the band, James says: “We are kind of pub people, grounded and not star struck. We come from the same area in London as The Rolling Stones, The Clash, Sex Pistols and it’s people who didn’t want to be showbiz entertainers, we wanted to be band members.” Many things remain, she has the same sexual magnetism and the enthusiasm to make music and interact with the public and that’s where her new album comes from. Her latest, “The Price of the Ticket”, is a collection of collaborations with so many heavy-weight musicians from Punk and New Wave bands – such as Lenny Kaye (The Patti Smith Group), Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols) on bass and James Sclavunos (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds) on drums. All the songs are written and produced by Wendy James, until you get to tracks 12 and 13, which are cover versions of songs written by Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith (MC5/Sonic’s Rendezvous Band) and Bob Dylan, respectively. These feature two Stooges - James Williamson and Steve Mackay, with Sclavunos still on drums. And as if the “name dropping” wasn’t enough on it’s own, when you see her live you can still feel all her stage presence, true, genuine and never-ending. Wendy kicks off with three tracks taken from her new album, ‘Palomas Downs’, followed by ‘Bad Intentions & a Bit of Cruelty, and King Rat, four songs in and we get to hear the old classics from Transvison Vamp - ‘Tell That Girl To Shut Up’, and ‘I Want Your Love’. And they deliver a total of 19 songs throughout the set, finally finishing close to midnight. From high-fiving fans in between songs, to looking at them intensely in the eyes whilst sibilating meaningful lyrics. James has the capacity to deliver a highly charismatic show, and what a warming naughty smile she’s got too! Although the venue isn’t a full house, you can see a veteran fan line-up right by the stage singing along, shouting “I love you Wendy” as if they were still teenagers stuttering at the sight of their biggest crush, pushing phones in her face to take shots. Especially when she sings old-time hits such as “Baby I don’t care”, the house goes up with star-struck fans. There is also a casual feel to it, as if you are simply enjoying a night out with your mates, singing songs that you know by heart, whilst waffling in between about drinks and life. Wendy’s musicians are backing her to the hilt, and having fun it seemed, from the mighty James Sclavunos on his pink drum kit (even setting up his own gear), James Meynell on bass, and on guitar Jared Scaramanga. These may be big names, but you feel a sense of ease. There is no entourage, no make-up artists, no hairdresser, none of those fancy things that, nowadays, a typical artist can’t even imagine going up on stage without. Just real musicians, who are there to play their instruments, drink and have a good time, and this allows Wendy to be the artist that she was promised to be, true to herself. Photos by Melanie Smith www.mudkissphotography.co.uk

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Wendy James - Live Room, Manchester, 3/6/2016

Wendy James - Live Room, Manchester, 3/6/2016

Wendy James - Live Room, Manchester, 3/6/2016

Wendy James - Live Room, Manchester, 3/6/2016

Wendy James - Live Room, Manchester, 3/6/2016

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