Jamie T at Manchester Academy, Manchester, UK, 23 January 2010 – Gig Review

January 26, 2010

Gig/Concert: Jamie T and The Pacemakers with Cold Ones
Venue: Manchester Academy, Oxford Road, Manchester, UK
Date: 23 January 2010
Headliners: Jamie T
In one word: Boisterous

I’ve been waiting to see Jamie T for well over two years, but every time he’s played I’ve been away from home. I was determined not to miss this gig and had high expectations.

The support came from Liverpudlian punk band Cold Ones. The lead singer came out brandishing a battered radio, as the gig was being recorded and going out live on Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 show. Their set was quick paced and energetic, but was summed up nicely by my friend’s comment; “all the songs sound the same!” If you’re into their kind of supercharged, albeit rather samey, hardcore punk, I’d highly recommend them as the band were tight. The singer was never still and constantly interacting with the audience; 10/10 for effort but if it weren’t for the breaks in between songs I wouldn’t have known when one ended and another kicked off.

Jamie T took to the stage to sounds of rapturous applause from an eager crowd; well, we had been waiting for this gig for over three months. He had been ill with laryngitis and so had to reschedule his whole tour for the New Year. He was gracious and thankful that such a large crowd had waited for him to recover.

The set kicked off with recent single “The Man’s Machine” followed by a couple of other tracks from his second album. I’m now glad that the gig was put back because I’ve had time to really listen to his second effort and I appreciate it even more because of his energetic live show. I got the feeling that every performance is a group effort and not just about the singer/songwriter; there was a real gang vibe between him and his backing band The Pacemakers. They are a group of mates having a good time and we, the audience, just happened to be there.

High levels of energy and raucousness were sustained throughout the set, apart from when he took it down a peg or two to play an acoustic rendition of “Back In The Game” and B-side “St. Christopher”. The latter track showed Jamie’s softer side, while crowd participation on the former was emphasized by his lone six strings. “Dance of the Young Professionals”, another B-side, cropped up later in his set, and even though not many of the crowd knew it, the rag-a-muffin beat provoked shuffled dancing across the sold out venue.

Highlights of the set, for me, were a quick-paced version of “Pacemaker” and of course the anthemic “Shelia’” The band ended with “British Intelligence”. It’s one of my favourites from Kings and Queens and it amazes me how his rhythmic rhymes don’t get muddled up from mind to mic. Mr T. returned to a chanting crowd with ukulele led “Spider’s Web’” closely followed by “Chaka Demus” which really packed a punch with its insanely catchy hook. There was only one song left and it had to be “Stick ‘n’ Stones”. The band and crowd gave it their all and by the end of the evening, I was drenched in beer and other’s people sweat….nice…always a sign of a good gig.

© Francesca Howell

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