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Starsailor shine brightly in support of Rolling Stones


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....

 

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