Jamie T – O2 Academy Brixton, London – 08.10.16
With the release of Jamie T’s astutely entitled fourth studio album Trick, a record which sees him show off his brilliantly clever song-writing skills and his usual musical charm, naturally comes an inevitable tour. Following his visits to Dublin and Cardiff amongst others, and soon to play Leeds, I caught him on the opener of his sold-out three night stint at the O2 Academy Brixton – and what a night it was too.
As we poured in to the balcony area to take our seats, struck by the familiar (yet always impressive) theatrical architecture, three scruffy, shaggy haired blokes took to the stage. They were, as I later found out, The Wytches; a slightly odd choice for a support act who certainly weren’t afraid of making a lot of noise. They were energetic, but ultimately forgettable. Thankfully, it wasn’t a sign of things to come.
Eventually, Jamie sauntered on to the stage casually to rapturous applause and cries of “Jamie” (and yes, I was a part of it), clearly not phased by big venues anymore. He immediately jumped in to the recognisable chord stabs of album opener ‘Power Over Men’. Jumping briskly from song to song effortlessly, there was simply no stopping him; covering some of the best content from all four of his albums, he had us on our feet from the very beginning.
Jamie certainly has a knack for writing unbelievably anthemic tracks, and he unloaded them on to us by the bucketload – highlights including a raucous rendition of stand-out track ‘Tescoland’ as well as classic crowd-pleasers ‘Sticks & Stones’ and ‘Rabbit Hole’. For me though, Jamie has always had me at his quieter and reflective moments. His spectacular performance of ‘Sign of The Times’ was simply mesmerising, laying his emotion bare on the stage in an a solemn yet triumphant fashion. This, combined with songs like ‘Solomon Eagle’, ‘368’ and ‘Crossfire Love’ provided a welcome break from an energy-filled set.
As the now legendary ‘Sticks & Stones’ reached its conclusion, the lights went down and the stage emptied. But an expectant crowd remained standing, knowing Jamie couldn’t leave Brixton without having played the first single of his previous album Carry on the Grudge, the whimsically infectious ‘Zombie’ – and they were indeed correct. He strolled back onto the stage and proceeded to belt out ‘Back in the Game’ and the long-awaited ‘Zombie’, met by the best reaction I’ve heard a single song receive. And that was that; we left satisfied, but also wanting more.
All in all, it was a great performance from Jamie, encompassing some of his best music to date and proving that he’s still at the top of his game. It’s definitely Jamie – he may be more mature, but he hasn’t lost his boy-next-door charm that saw him burst on to the music scene with his ground-breaking debut Panic Prevention, an album just as relevant now as it was on its release way back in 2007. I look forward to seeing more from him in the future, and if you haven’t already, get down to one of the shows; you won’t be disappointed.