Nick Morgan and crew
Review by Nick Morgan
JAMIE-T The Astoria, London, January 24th
was when the group of intimidating thick-set lager-drinking
heavyweights in front of us starting snorting huge
amounts of coke from their clenched fists that I
really thought we might be in for a rough time.
They’d already serenaded the surrounding crowd
with menacing football chants as the stage was being
reset and now they looked totally out of control,
falling around to a wild ‘Ike and Tina’.
On stage, mop haired in an unprepossessing blue
sports shirt Jamie T (or Jaime Treays to give him
his full name) has been kicking up a riot since
the first few bars of rockabilly infused ‘Brand
new bass guitar’ half an hour before. There
are more beer cans flying through the air (most,
but not all, in the direction of the stage) than
there really should be, and behind me there’s
a gang of shrieking girls, well … shrieking
and taking photographs of themselves. Actually they
shriek most of the night.
was lucky to hear some of young (he’s 20,
which reminds me that although we did see a mum
and embarrassed daughter when we left I do believe
that this time I was the oldest person in the Pickle
demo tapes about eighteen months ago and was immediately
struck by his huge talent. He was accompanying himself
on his bashed-up four string acoustic bass guitar,
and there may have been some percussion, but songs
like Salvador really stood out as being different,
not just for the content of the lyrics but the rhythmical
structures that they weave.
a compelling and dizzee fusion of playground chants,
music-hall ditties, Chas and Dave, ska and rap,
played to a remorseless and driving drums and bass
punk beat. That’s my take – have a look
at the cleverly-composed cover of his new album
to see where Jamie thinks his influences lie. Live
on stage with a band his music may lose some of
its complexity and subtlety, but none of its infectious
rhythm. And it’s
hot – ‘Calm down dearest’
his new single charted at No 2 a couple of weeks
ago thanks to downloads; his debut album Panic Prevention
was released on January 29th. And it goes without
saying that the Astoria is heaving.
lyrics very much reflect the zeitgeist of the twenty
year old south Londoner that he is, but there is
a hidden and knowing maturity to many of the songs
that you might not pick up at first hearing. There’s
certainly too much drinking, too many drugs, too
many cigarettes, not enough sleep, and there are
lots of girls of one sort or another who behave
like ‘Sheila’ - “Drunk, she stumbles
down by a river, screams calling London”.
begin to think that most of the shrieking girls
(they’re not just behind me, they’re
all over the bloody place) might be called Sheila,
though it’s sadly pretty clear that the irony
of songs like this or ‘Operation’ are
lost on a large part of the audience, for tonight
at least. But Jamie just spits out his lyrics like
a machine gun – with almost perfect enunciation
as he works his way through twelve songs before
returning with another four more.
have to say I most enjoyed ‘Operation’
‘Ike and Tina’ and ‘Northern Line’,
but would also have to confess we missed the encore
as we decided to make a break for safety half way
Something will have to go very wrong in Jamie T’s
career to prevent him being around for some time.
Unlike the rather contrived Mika (who currently
heads the UK singles charts with ‘Grace Kelly’)
this young man has a depth of vision, an ability
with words and just substance that should mean he
remains a fixture on the music scene for some time.
So long as he can keep on dodging the beer cans.
- Nick Morgan (concert photographs by Kate)
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