Last time - and the first time - I saw Wendy James live was with her Racine band at Copenhagen's Stengade 30 in 2007. I couldn't go to London in 2011, when she last played at Rough Trade East to promote her brilliant "I Came Here To Blow Minds"  album. When she announced a couple of UK gigs in 2016 to promote her newest album "The Price Of The Ticket" , I instantly decided that the wait should be over. I needed a new Wendy fix.
The first gig of the evening was at Rough Trade East in London's East End. I went to the record store a bit early, and learned that the band were doing their sound-check for the small crowd that had arrived early like me. This way we almost got ourselves an extra gig, because the sound-check was rather long. Jim Sclavunos (known from Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds) was playing the drums, and he had to learn the details of the older Transvision Vamp material. It was great fun to witness and to hear the band joke around and adjust the finer details.
After that, the people - who were now waiting outside the venue - were let in, and the actual gig began after a short break. I took a photo of the setlist (the songs listed below), but they didn't play the full list of songs. They picked the ones they agreed on playing right there and then. The songs played were a mix of Wendy James, Racine and Transvision Vamp songs.
The band sounded great and they were really rocking. Some of it was even rather wild and had a totally punky feel to it. A song like "You're A Dirtbomb, Lester" certainly kicks some serious rock'n'roll ass live. Wendy's voice still sounds exactly like it used to, and the mix of older and newer songs worked very well. Obviously the crowd knew the Transvision Vamp stuff better than the songs from her brand new album, and also a record store is not exactly the perfect music venue. But all in all, it was a fine beginning of a very nice evening.
After the gig ended, we formed a very long line, and Wendy patiently signed our records, and had some photos taken with her fans. I bought the new album again, even if I had already ordered it online, but I wanted that personal autograph on the cover. I still haven't heard the new album, because my hotel room sadly didn't come equipped with a record player.
After the signing session, there was a 10 minutes walk (20 minutes for me, because I got a bit lost on my way) to the next venue, The Old Blue Last, where the 2nd gig of the evening would take place. Downstairs is a pub, where we sat and waited and enjoyed some beers, Lemmys and free wi-fi, until they finally opened the doors to the very small and very intimate venue upstairs.
Wendy and her 3 band members took the stage, and they played a longer set than they'd done at the record store. It was a very nice experience and the sound was great in the small venue. It was all very intense and I got to suck it all in from the front row. They played several of the songs they had already played earlier on, but they also added new ones from the list. My favorite was "The Moon Dead In The River", which is from Wendy's previous album, and a song I really like a lot. Also "You're a Good Man, Sister" worked well. From the new album I loved the single b-side "Indigent Blues", and the old Transvision Vamp treasures "Tell That Girl To Shut Up" and "If Looks Could Kill".
After 2 very fine live gigs, I am certainly looking forward to the 3rd and last gig I'll be going to this time around. Wendy James is hosting a party at a private club in London, and she will be playing a gig there. Bring on Friday and bring on more of that Wendy James magic. Other great news is that she said she'll be returning to the UK around May for a proper tour, giving her fans even more to look forward to.
I Want Your Love, Bad Intentions And A Bit Of Cruelty, King Rat, I'm Freaking Out, You're A Good Man Sister, Speedball, Indigent Blues, The Moon Dead In The River, Tell That Girl To Shut Up, If Looks Could Kill, Bitter Funny, You're A Dirtbomb Lester, Farewell To Love, You Tell Me, Baby I Don't Care.
(not 100% what they actually played, but the list they chose from)