Review by Erin Lyons, Photography by Robert Barrett
“I’m unprepared for this” stated South London’s finest Jamie T before his acoustic set at the HMV Empire. “If I’d have known I was playing to 1000 people I’d have brought the whole band”. But what the night proved is that he didn’t need a band, just a guitar and a microphone to provide a truly memorable show.
Unbelievably his fifth album “The Theory of Whatever” is the first to reach number one in the album charts of his career. Jumping onto the single bar stool on the stage he almost seemed bemused at the reception. “I thought I’d just sign some records and play to 50 people in a record store like the old days” he joked. This wasn’t the old days anymore, and the crowd were ready to hear some tunes.
Instant cheers rang out when he started with “Brand New Bass Guitar” followed by “Emily’s Heart”. Surprisingly for an album release show, only two new tracks were given an outing, he was much more content giving the crowd the classics from every corner of his back catalogue.
With these stripped back interpretations of the songs, showed the songwriting talent he has. Tracks from his latest showed a more mature lyrical content such as in “St George Wharf Tower”.
“Let it be known that the Lionesses have free tickets to my show at Ally Pally, can’t sort the parking though” he mused, reflecting on the other number 1 artists of the week.
A killer end to the set showed the might of his back catalogue with singalongs for “Zombie” and “Shelia”, reminding most of the crowd of misspent youth in the Colly side room. With a solo show this good, let’s hope Jamie T can keep his promise and come back to Coventry with a full band.