Review: Jamie T. Comes To America

Dec 6th, 2014 in Music

Jamie Head

We’ve been spouting off about Britain’s Jamie T. since we first heard his debut album Panic Prevention in 2007.  But following his second album (the outstanding Kings & Queens), a four-year recording hiatus ensued for Mr. Treays.  Thankfully, that chapter ended with the release of his phenomenal new album, Carry On The Grudge.  Ever since, our raves for Mr. T. have been dialed up full-tilt, and our ardor heightened to see the artist live for the first time.  At long last a scant four shows were announced for the US, and finally on Wednesday we caught Jamie T. and his great backing band at the historic Roxy Theater in LA after a seven-year wait.

Following an “interesting” opening set by LA’s Irontom (England got Slaves, ferheavensake, but we got this LA band featuring the lead singer’s incessant interpretive dances–not our cup of tea–while his capable bandmates wailed on their instruments–oh well), and a lengthy break in between, Jamie T. and band finally hit the stage, and the ardent audience was off and running with their mate at last.  And they would not be disappointed.

Despite the band’s jet-lag (“anyone else here suffering from jet-lag?” Jamie demanded of the audience), singer and band raged throughout as they kicked off the set with Carry On The Grudge’s superb opener, Limits Lie.  In the first portion of the set, Jamie sang while turned side-stage, crouched down to the mic, giving us a great view of the singer, who exhibited a few tics but whose singing was excellent throughout (we don’t know the nature of his recent illness that caused some European shows to be cancelled, but he showed no signs of any lingering effects this night).  Jamie’s gestalt is somewhere between Joe Strummer and Alex Turner.  A perfect mix, but he still makes it his own, in part owing to his hip-hop additions.

The set featured songs from throughout his discography, with emphasis appropriately on the new album.  Other highlights from that album during the show were Rabbit Hole, Turn On The Light, The Prophet and, later, the touching They Told Me It Rained (with it’s Madness quote).  Treays also raved through a sped-up version of single Zombie and a thrashing Peter (“about schizophrenia–well mine anyway”).  Jamie regaled the crowd with talk throughout the night, our favorite being his tale of an LA cabbie/Uber-driver sizing him up and then demanding “Are you fucking Jamie. T??!!“).  His band delivered pitch-perfect support throughout the night (especially on backing vocals and with a particular nod to the fabulous “Hurricane Victoria” on drums).

As the set revved on, older crowd favorites were also delivered, including If You Got The Money, Sticks ‘n Stones, and the encore performance of his biggest hit, Sheila.  The crowd knew every word to all the older songs (in particular) and sang along in unison, but no more so than on Sheila.  One of our all-time favorites, The Man’s Machine was revelatory and rightfully ate up by the crowd.  Sure there were some sloppy moments during the set (undoubtedly owing to the jet-lag and recent illness), but between the songs, the singer and the band the seven-year wait proved oh so worth the wait.  Here’s hoping that Jamie T. doesn’t wait another seven years before returning to California, ideally returning again for a less jet-lagged rendezvous soon during the stretched out, worldwide Carry On The Grudge tour.  Jamie, we always loved ye.

To get a feel for the show, check out the vignettes HERE.

Photo by Lefort.  For some far better shots of the band at the Roxy, go HERE.



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