Jim Noir – Leadmill, Sheffield

I didn’t really know what to expect from Jim Noir, as I’d only ever heard a pattering of his music before the show, and from his name expected it to be more like his similar namesake Jim Moir’s “Dizzy”. The first thing which strikes you about Jim Noir is that despite playing all the instruments on his album himself, when in live stage mode he has a full band with him, much akin to say Colin Macintyre from what used to be Mull Historical Society.

Placing Jim and co on the Leadmill’s ‘Steel Stage’ was perhaps a mistake though, despite it being a rather ominous stage in Sheffield which has seen many a soon to be big band springboard on to bigger things. However it didn’t quite fit the whole band on, leaving them quite squeezed up. I guess this helped the ‘party’ atmosphere which was created as Jim and his band were treating the show as more of a mess about than a serious live performance. But, I must say they all appeared to be enjoying themselves a lot more than say the support band Paolo Nutini. Never before have I heard an ‘artist’ have such little enthusiasm for what he (Nutini) is doing. For someone to be stood on one of the UK’s most inspired stages and to look so damn depressed is baffling. I overheard another member of the near silent audience say something along the lines of “They sound like they’ve got the entire population of Glasgow together and told them that the alcohol has run out” which, without offending Glaswegians, is pretty accurate.
However, that didn’t stop the pork-pie hatted Noir from having a bit of fun, and nor the crowd who the majority of by this point had taken to the recent resurgence of “skanking” which as far as I can tell involves attempting to strike as many people in the face as is humanly possible while waving your arms and legs about at crazy ‘one-step-beyond’ angles. I really must be getting old if I’m complaining about people dancing at gigs.

Anyway, Jim rattled off hits from his impressive new album “Tower of Love”, one track of which is currently getting massive screen time via the world cup adverts.
He finished his set with the wonderfully catchy “My Patch” which was the song I’d heard previously and the one I wanted him to play, the lead guitarist plucked out a rather impressively botched electric ukulele to provide the guitar, or rather ukulele hook behind “My Patch”.

Overall, I’d say see Jim Noir if you have the chance, as he’s wonderfully fun and a pleasant change from the current crop. But I can’t advise seeing Paolo Nutini, who unless decides to cheer up should be avoided at all costs.

Rob Gissing

Updated: Jun 19, 2006

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