Diamonds in the Rough

Martin and James – FZW, Dortmund; October 13th, 2013

In the middle of the ongoing Poets of the Fall tour I used the one off night they had between four shows to go home – and see Martin and James in Dortmund. Sure, the timing could have been better, but I certainly was not going to miss a show in my city if there was a chance to attend it. With the new album out for a few weeks already, I felt rather unprepared when I realized I only knew the songs they had been playing in the past year. Oh well, a concert without a lot of singing along from me then.

There wasn’t that much sleep to be had on the train ride from Freiburg, but I hadn’t expected that and I would not have wanted to miss the night out with my friends on the previous day. The price you pay for touring. 😉 Upon arrival I met my friend A. at the train station and we went to my place for lunch. It got all quite hectic, because I had so many things to do before we left again, but we still managed to make it to the venue around 5 pm. N., S., J. and a few others were already waiting. The doors opened a little late, but getting to the front was easy. There were nowhere near as many people as last year.

Jim Kroft was supporting the guys once again and had brought Ben Barrit along to help. It’s funny how quickly some things change. It the beginning of last year’s Martin and James tour I had not enjoyed his music much and wished for 2011 support act Oh, Napoleon to be back. This year, I was very happy to hear Jamie would join them on the road once more. 🙂 Not only did they bring lovely music, they were in a good mood too and instantly put a smile on my face.

Last time I had seen Jim in May, he had a full band to back him, but things worked well with just him and Ben on guitars. They played a lot of new songs that have been written since heir last tour. I especially loved the beautiful ‘Diamonds in the Rough’, but also liked ‘Like a Human Heart’. These new songs were mixed with older ones, well known and not so well known ones. It made me especially happy that ‘Cracked Polaroid’ was on the setlist. The song was never released on any album, but is clearly a fan favorite. The entire set was awesome. I loved the energy coming from them. 🙂

Setlist (out of order and probably incorrect):

Dreaming to some purpose
The Jailer
Cracked Polaroid
Diamonds in the Rough
Like a Human heart
Blue Sky
Tell me (where to begin)
The Great Doomsday story
See how the darkness grows
I hope you know

While we were waiting for Martin and James A. and the others told me about their concert in Hannover the previous day. It had been full of technical difficulties that led to the guys playing most of the gig unplugged. From all I heard. it was much fun and quite a memorable concert. This night, however, everything went well, except for a few cellphones interfering with the equipment. Strangely, this only seems to happen at Martin and James concerts or at least I have never noticed that problem elsewhere.

They started with ‘Bloom’, a song I had often asked them to play in the past, but the request was usually ignored. Now it was finally part of the regular setlist and made me really happy. After such a good start, I knew I’d enjoy the rest of the night. The guys brought out the band for ‘Where I belong’ – Stuart on keyboards, Jürgen on drums and Mark on the bass. It was weird at first to see Martin and James only play guitars instead of half a drum kit in addition, but it was much better than I had expected. Everything was louder than at concerts where it’s only the two of them, yet there was a bit more variety as well.

I really could not do much singing along for the new songs, but enjoyed them anyway. The arrangements were a bit different from the CD versions, but not totally changed. The songs they had played previously to recording the album did not go back to their early form and were played in the CD version instead, most notably ‘Cynical Skin’. It was good, but I still prefer the rough, stripped down versions they often play when there is no band around. This whole overproduced stuff they put on their CDs is just not for me. I had fun though and it made me happy to finally see them live again.

It surprised me to find ‘Tides’ on the setlist – back when it was a single I had the feeling they were refusing to play it because it had not been their choice. However, I realized that it is actually a song I really like. 🙂 The setlist worked quite well overall, mixing songs from both albums. Anyone who had been hoping for new, unheard songs was disappointed though. Either they had not written anything since the last concerts that wasn’t on the album or they were not ready to share. 😉

They had a nice acoustic set in the middle though, with ‘You’re a window’ played completely unplugged. What had happened accidentally the previous day, became now part of the show and they even walked off the stage and into the audience to play. It was pretty awesome and unexpected. 😀 The difficulties of Hannover were mentioned a few times, especially as an Explanation for having to drink tea after all the strain that had put on their voices.

Overall it was a fun concert with a good audience that was willing to sing and clap along. When the main set ended with ‘Matilda’, everyone screamed for more and they came back for four more songs. After ‘Life’s a show’ they wanted to say goodbye, but we demanded more and they came back for one last encore of ‘Somebody’ – wow, that was nice. I do admit that I had a hard time to get into it at first, but I’m still glad I made it there. By the end of the night, Martin and James had managed to paint a big smile on my face.


Where I Belong
Cold Heart
My Dog Don’t Like The Rain
My Last Prayer
Cynical Skin
Crashing Into Love
I Know A Girl
Maybe It’s Time
You’re A Window
Bad Dream
I Have To Fall
See No Land
Wrong Directions
The Rope

All Over The News
Little Bits Of Light
You’ll Be Gone, I’ll Be Here
Life’s a show

After the gig we stayed and chatted, joked around with Jim, who tried to make everyone jump when they wanted to take pictures with him. I had a few words with the guys too and when I checked out the T-Shirts and realized I did not have enough Money with me, Ryan told me to take the shirt anyway and just pay it at the next concert, which would happen a week later in Hamburg. How nice of him. 🙂

pictures of this concert

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