The Wendy James Band
by Ian Ledgar

Review for Ay Up Duck Radio’s Sugarmill Show


I hadn’t been to a gig on my own for over 20 years, so on Saturday 28th August I was in for a real shakeup; it’s an odd feeling walking to a venue without someone to talk with, so as I hewed to The Sugarmill I could really feel my nerves on edge. I looked down a heaving Piccadilly and was reminded that Hanley used to be a fantastic place to go out at the weekend, it was nice to see the area on the up again.

My absence from live music turned nervousness into excitement as I made my way down to The Sugarmill, now grinning in anticipation to see The Wendy James Band and those supporting them.

Crying Beauty Queens

First up were the Crying Beauty Queens, a young three-piece indie band from Manchester who formed two years ago. Comprised of singer/guitarist Jordan Price, bassist Alex Hurlstone, and drummer Paddy Murphy, Crying Beauty Queens hold influences from the likes of The Pixies, The Cranberries, The Beatles, and LCD Soundsystem. I will be following the stunning voice of Jordan Price in the near future as the band continues to release their lockdown projects.

The King’s Pistol

Second to the stage were The King’s Pistol, a four-piece rock band from Crewe whose set was full of catchy tunes inspired by the blues sound of the 60s and 70s.

The band formed back in 2015 and is made up of Casewell on guitar and vocals, Andy Shardlow on bass guitar, and Jim Farmer on drums. The King’s Pistol have recorded two albums so far and were due to begin a tour in Helsinki before lockdown halted their plans, luckily they have started back up on the gig circuit and will be playing locally again.

Theirs is a style of music that quite simply will never die, they produce foot-tapping tunes and they know how to blast them out.

The Wendy James Band

On to the main event, The Wendy James Band.

Wendy James really knows how to hold the stage, combining a mix of tunes across her plethora of projects, be it Transvision Vamp, Racine, or her solo material and the new stuff, strutting onto the stage as though she’d never been away from it.

From Baby I Don’t Care, which was sang with true feeling, right through to Landslide Of Love, she was smiling and enjoying herself as much as the crowd were before belting out the Tell That Girl To Shut Up, a cover of Holly And The Italians’ song of the same name. Her performance brought loads of memories bouncing back as the cover was my favourite song by the band back in the day.

The band have done this tour with a different setlist every night, a massive achievement for any musician, to keep things fresh. In a great twist, the band ended up playing a track from Velveteen to keep the tour fresh, a song which James hadn’t performed for over 30 years, the seminal The Only One.

Their newer stuff had a lot to live up to, but it certainly held its own; two of The Wendy James Band’s stand out tracks were new single Kill Some Time Now and Little Melvin, both of which proved that Wendy James has lost none of her song writing abilities.

James and her band were very accommodating after the gig, taking the time to pose for photos and sign autographs with their fans. It’s so nice to see the artists you grew up loving sharing their talents and thanks with their fans as they continue to grow and improve as musicians.

Wendy James remains the strong and talented rock chick she was back in the 80s and 90s and I love seeing her playing live in the UK again, hopefully collecting a whole new set of fans along the way.







    Tickets: 0115 896 0163
    Telephone: 01782 243 104