Inglorious @Riverside, Newcastle October 5 2021
Next spring Nathan James will be back on Tyneside as The Voice Of Humanity in Jeff Wayne’s musical version of The War Of The Worlds.
As the voice of Inglorious he might not get to play the big arenas or earn the big bucks…just yet.
But we’d put our mortgage on the fact that James is more at home rocking out the Riverside than belting out Thunder Child in his long leather coat.
It certainly seemed that way as he fed off a febrile Toon crowd unleashing months of pent-up frustration during 90 magical minutes.
When James roared Where Are You Now, the raucous — if rehearsed — comeback of ‘We’re in fucking Newcastle’ rang out loud and proud.
And in that moment Inglorious axeman Danny Dela Cruz seemed genuinely taken aback by the sheer ferocity of the response from the floor.
Dela Cruz is still coming to terms with his trips to the North East.
James, by contrast, has become a regular in the region and he knows fervour will be met with zeal, gratitude reciprocated with gratefulness.
He knows rapport and respect are the foundations of any standout show.
And James — like his classic rock heroes Coverdale and Hughes — has never lacked the ability to get a crowd onside.
These days he’s not only the Voice of Humanity and the voice of Inglorious.
James has also emerged as the unlikely yet welcome voice of women and children who face domestic abuse.
One pound from the sale of each copy of new covers album Heroine goes to Women’s Aid.
And the band’s second record of 2021 is a stirring celebration of female empowerment as James and co. rip through a series of choice covers by some seriously famous women.
Four tracks from Heroine paced an assured set that celebrated Inglorious’s imperious past and the band’s impressive present.
James and Barracuda are a match made in classic rock heaven.
But it’s what Della Cruz and fellow six stringer Dan Stevens bring to Heart’s 1977 anthem, from the Little Queen album, that makes this such a compelling live pick.
Earlier, Miley Cyrus’ Midnight Queen had been shoehorned in between the brilliant Breakaway and Where Are You Now?
Both original songs put Billy Ray’s daughter in the shade but then Heroine boasts a few misses as well as a plethora of hits.
Alanis Morisette would surely approve of James’ wildly inventive take on Uninvited: potentially the best song on the night.
And Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time provided perfect closure to a three-song acoustic interlude that saw the multi-talented Phil Beaver step away from his kit to take on an initially troublesome 12-string guitar…and win.
James Will Provide
Of course Inglorious don’t need to trade on tracks made famous by fellow artists.
This is a band that already boasts a meaty back catalogue the envy of their classic rock peers.
Planet Rock staple Medusa, fan favourite Holy Water and the consistently compelling I Don’t Need Your Loving are representative of a band with talent to burn.
And once again Inglorious have the look and the sound of a band that’s as unified as it’s unique.
He Will Provide roared James as a superb set reached its final third.
And when it comes to the provision of a vocal performance par excellence he inevitably does.
Images courtesy of Mick Burgess