It’s all over the news today

Martin and James – Blue Shell, Cologne; May 13th 2011

“This was the best one so far!” were my first words to James (and a bit later to Martin) after the gig. Neither of them was convinced, but it sure sounded amazing from where I was standing. There was a lot more audience participation and singing along than at the previous two gigs and both of the guys seemed more laid-back that night…

It started with the usual waiting. A handful of people were there before me, but getting to the front was no problem. I was surprised at just how small the Blue Shell is. I’m really bad at guessing such things, but I’d say it holds 200 people at most. Anyway, it was sold out and packed soon after the doors opened. The stage was small too and rather low. No backstage either so both bands had to come through the audience and walk up the two steps to the stage.

Oh Napoleon started a little late at 8:15 p.m. I enjoyed their set once again and by now I could even sing along a little bit. By the time this tour is over I might actually remember their setlist.

Martin and James came on at 9:15 p.m. and climbed the two steps to great applause. As usual, they started with an acoustic set. They had shortened it by one song, only playing ‘She’s light guiding’, ‘Turn it up’ and ‘Lay this down’ before bringing out the band. This worked well for me, gave the concert a bit more drive.

The audience was really into it from the start. This was the first concert where many people were singing along, at least in my corner of the room and they knew the lyrics too. It wasn’t only the current single they sang along to either, they knew the album and then some. I was impressed and happy to witness such a reaction for once.

There’s nothing wrong with just listening and Martin and James’ music certainly calls for that, but once in a while it must be good for the guys to get some feedback. They seemed less nervous than at some of the previous gigs and had to work a little less hard. They became more talkative as they went along, telling a little bit about each song and even making a few jokes. They seemed to be getting into a routine.

The funniest story told that night was the one about their morning at the Sat 1 “Frühstücksfernsehen” – they had been driving all night from Hamburg to Berlin, arrived at 5:30 and were expected at the TV studio at 6:00. When they got there, they expected it to be one song, pre-recorded, but actually it was “three songs and two interviews”. James really drew out the story. The best part was the bit about their manager repeating it was live and how they kept hoping it would not be –  “Stop saying the word LIVE!”

Martin joked about their backstage passes and how, when they toured with other artists, they could use them to get into clubs, but “now we have these with our own picture and we tried to get into the clubs, but no-one knows who we are.” All in all they were more relaxed than the previous gigs.

All the songs worked wonderfully, with the band and without. I was especially happy to hear ‘Devils in the Doorway’ again, but everything else was wonderful too. The highlights, ie.e the songs that got the loudest audience reaction were Bad Dream’, ‘All over the News’, ‘Wrong Directions’, ‘Somebody’ and of course ‘Crashing into Love’ The audience loved it and lots of them stayed to chat with the guys after. A great night!


She’s light guiding
Turn it up
Lay this down

(full band:)
Wrong directions
Bad Dream
I was blind
Live Wires
Crashing into Love

Broken Sword
I have to fall
Give a little bit
Little bits of Light
All over the news

Encore (full band):
Maybe it’s time
Devils in the doorway
You’re alive

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