Jamie T is one of modern music’s enigmas; seemingly invisible to the everyday pop music consumer, whilst reluctantly possessing a god-like status in the eyes of his hordes of followers.
This state of existence has surely never been more prevalent than now, on the second night of his three sold out Brixton shows. The South London crowd descend into a state reminiscent of Beatlemania, screaming fanatically at any hint of a lighting change or sound technician infiltrating the stage as they wait to welcome one of their own to his homecoming performance.
This excitement reached pandemonium, with full pints being tossed in the air, as Jamie strutted onto the stage, donning a leather jacket and questionable dance moves, apparently inspired by Alex Turner’s on-stage persona.
The Wimbledon singer stood on the edge of the stage for a prolonged amount of time, basking in chants of “Jamie! Jamie! Jamie!” Which, in a career plagued by extreme stage fright and the intentional avoidance of super-stardom, makes a bold statement. At the age of thirty, nine years after his first album was released, Jamie T has matured into a serious presence on the musical spectrum, and he knows it.
He eventually started his set with new single ‘Power over men’, followed by his patriotic anthem ‘Tescoland’- also from the new album, Trick.
Jamie’s newer tracks were well received by the audience throughout the evening, being accepted as worthy additions in his vast catalogue of crowd-pleasers. The audacity in the room was, however, remarkably noticeable when he addressed the crowd to introduce ‘Operation’, a fan favourite from his first LP, Panic Prevention.
Throughout the performance, Jamie T’s growing charisma and comfort on stage was showcased in intervals of removing his guitar and swaggering the width of the the stage like a bona-fide popstar, with the bite and debauched anecdotes of South London that the likes of the X Factor could never offer a viewer.
The setlist included many surprises, such as Solomon Eagle & British intelligence, both popular tracks, but many of the audience would have liked to hear singles such as ‘Chaka Demus’, ‘Emily’s heart’ and other fan favourites, such as ‘So Lonely was the Ballad’ & ‘Back in the game’- the latter of which was dropped from the set last minute.
The maverick style in which he constructed his setlist is testament to Jamie’s ideology; to do what he wants and to do it on his terms- and with a backlog of hits growing at the rate of his, it would be near impossible to fulfil every request.
The local pride was tangible from start to end, which is a rarity in a city the size of London; with a mixed crowd of 16 year olds attending their first gig, to thirty year old men embracing throughout chorus’- each exclaiming all of Jamie T’s local references.
This is an artist who is not only refuses to abide by the rules of any given genre, but he refuses to age, with each track from his set sounding as fresh and relevant as they did when they were written in his South London bedroom.
Words by Matt Ganfield (@mattganfield), images by Patrick Gunning.