Story: Jack Foley
IT can't be an easy prospect, supporting someone like The Rolling
Stones; yet Starsailor made a very good impression when they became
the first band ever to play at Twickenham's world-famous rugby
ground on Sunday, August 24, 2003.
Buoyed by an enthusiastic crowd, no doubt relieved at being able
to see The Stones after the disappointment of Saturday's cancellation,
Starsailor set about cementing their reputation as one of the
band's of the moment.
Lead singer, James Walsh, graciously spoke of the honour of being
asked to perform ahead of The Stones, while also acknowledging
his own delight at being the first band to perform at Twickenham
(one for future pub quizzes, so take note).
And then he proceeded to deliver an assured support set, which
lasted just under an hour, but which gave enough indication that
the critical acclaim which greeted the arrival of their debut
album, Love Is Here, in 2001, might not be misplaced.
Walsh may be young, but he possesses a confidence reserved for
the best types of lead singers, as well as a mighty fine voice,
which didn't show any sign of trembling ahead of such a big occasion.
In fact, on stage, Walsh probably sounds better than the tormented
soul which featured so much on the debut long-player, with tracks
such as Alcoholic and Poor Misguided Fool sounding
less torturous live than in record form.
Which brings us to the new material and the real reason why the
second coming of Starsailor should provide such an exciting prospect.
With new single, Silence is Easy, taken from the forthcoming
album of the same name, the Starsailor sound appears to have been
refined, somewhat, thanks to the presence of a certain Phil Spector.
The rock-soul template remains intact, of course, but on the
strength of this first listen, there is a freshness about the
new material which makes you want to hear more.
Silence is Easy is a really great record, and one which
retains an upbeat vibe despite lyrics such as 'if we get it wrong,
they'll feed us to the sharks'; as did Fidelity, another
reason to feel that the second LP could be better than the first.
Walsh, certainly, found himself at ease playing them, possessing
all the verve of a latter-day Richard Ashcroft (as well as the
looks), while also doing his best to revel in the stadium feel
of proceedings by starting a Mexican wave.
Needless to say, Silence is Easy was offered as the penultimate
single, before proceedings were brought to a close with the band's
best-known effort to date, the anthemic Good Souls, which
provided his colleagues the opportunity they craved to rock out
ahead of the main act.
It was a suitably rousing finale to one of the better support
slots I have had the pleasure of seeing in ages.
And for anyone who agrees, then why not put this date in your
diary - the band's second album, Silence Is Easy, is released
on September 15 and, if this is anything to go by, may well worth
be giving a listen....