“You know those PJT artists, yeah, post-Jamie T kind-of records.” – Zane Lowe, BBC Radio 1
An exuberant buzz fills Alexandra Palace as a sold-out crowd await Jamie T’s eagerly anticipated return and his first big venue performance since the release of Carry on The Grudge in September. Following Jamie T’s five-year hiatus since his first couple of albums, I, as an audience member, wasn’t sure what to expect of the solo artist or the historic venue he would fill. Nonetheless he did not simply rely on his back catalogue, effortlessly mixing his newer and more mature brand of song writing with older hits. The crowd welcomed the anthemic rock n’ roll sound of Rabbit Hole and schizophrenic confessional of Peter with as much anticipation as If You Got The Money and the sharp chorus of 368.
At moments, Jamie T proved he was both punk-poet capable of chaotic energy but also an artist who has written a self-reflective third album, as he laments “being young and drunk and all fucked up and being in entertainment” in The Prophet. On Love is only a Heartbeat Away and Emily’s Heart Treays’ abandoned his well-organised band and delightful vocal accompanist, Hollie Cook, to play with one foot up on the monitor. He achieves a sort of confident tenderness in his solo rendition of Back in the Game; his lyrics are only occasionally drowned out by the scale of the venue and the cheers of the crowd.
Don’t you Find was one of my personal highlights: a moody synth was the backdrop to Treays’ catchy vocals, urging a packed Ally Pally to rise up and scream its chorus. To conclude the night he returns to the stage to play an encore of Sticks and Stones, lager-lout singalong Sheila, and Zombie, the single that has fronted Carry on The Grudge, becomes a witty reminder for us all to do something more with our spare time.
He has been long compared to having the guitar technique and lyrical flare of Joe Strummer whilst being somewhere between the lovechild of Mike Skinner and Pete Doherty (if he never tried heroin). Yet amidst the imminent rise of pop singer-songwriters like Ed Sheeran and George Ezra, Jamie T’s unique rap-inflected pace and rough-rock n’roll energy inspires a whole new generation of artistry and is a welcome return to the London stage.