Ruth's Manuvas


My musical ramblings – gig and album reviews, music news and views

Jamie T @ The Kasbah, Coventry, 19/06/09

The Jamie Train rolled into Coventry on Friday June 19th, announcing the arrival of the genre-bending wordsmith to the Kasbah, with his particular brand of raw indie-pop singed with rap influences and now, a hint of ska too added to the mix.


The artist has so far won over a throng of followers and rightly so after his debut album, Panic Prevention, introduced some refreshingly different yet catchy tunes and storytelling lyrics gaining him mass appeal and critical acclaim. And on Friday this charming faux-chav personality from Wimbledon attracted a 14+ audience which oozed an odd sort of diversity. Evidently the 2,000 plus people at this stop on his pre-Sticks and Stones EP release tour would only be crossing paths on an occasion like this.


Jamie spat out his opener, ‘British Intelligence’, raising the testosterone levels in the Kasbah and setting the tone for the night as a group of teen-year-olds began their violently ecstatic one hour fifteen minute moshpit. This emphatic start continued with ‘Operation’ – a highlight on Panic Prevention – and by this time two thirds of the crowd were lapping up every half-sung half-shouted word. It was as if someone had wound up Jamie’s internal spring, turned up the volume and released him onto the stage to wreak havoc.


And this was, in part, the problem.


 As the younger half of the audience, the lairy lads and luddites thoroughly got into the gig, much of the latter two thirds of the crowd barely managed a bop as he ploughed through his set at maximum volume, maximum speed, but with an unexpectedly low dose of panache, vocal sensitivity and expression that we had come to expect.


He unleashed several new tracks including the well received chant-a-long “368”, which amongst the rest of some very average ska-influenced comeback tracks was easily the stand out. By then, you got the feeling that most preferred his older material and this was not just due to the comfy old sweater factor.


By the time Calm Down Dearest arrived, the disappointment was faintly palatable. Instead of the track being a softer more tuneful nudge at lovers’ tiffs, it was stripped of the finer points and the lack of interaction behind the frenzied teen moshpit said it all.


Somehow, the gig missed the mark. Jamie’s charm was still there – with a cheeky grin he even dedicated a song to the popular channel 4 programme, Come Dine With Me – but on the night he was without sparkle.


With the encore arrived the eagerly awaited Salvador and a sure fire future hit, Sticks and Stones. And it was then that light finally dawned on why the boredom had set in long ago. Amongst Jamie T’s troops, the drummer had just one beat which he – ALL NIGHT – played at different speeds and the lead guitarist, instead of playing the intricacies and light riffs so familiar to the material, played them like he was part of a wha wha pedalling dad band.


Doubtless, some of the problem was and is down to the Kasbah as a venue which always attracts a crowd akin to a bunch of Skins extras – and Coventry isn’t a city known for its live music pedigree.

But Jamie T should have been more than just a loveable rogue with a few good tunes and you get the feeling he still could be, provided that he ditches a band which detracts from and waters down his renegade lyrical genius and personality. 

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