If I learnt anything on Friday night at Manchester Academy, it was that absence certainly makes the heart grow fonder. The last time Jamie T played a room this size, Lady Gaga was still interesting, and yet he takes to it like a snapback-wearing duck to water. With a top 5 album and a sold out tour, this has to be one of the most highly anticipated comebacks of the past 5 years. Jamie T arrived on stage just after 9pm following a well received support slot from newcomers Slaves. ‘It’s good to be back, it’s been a long time since I’ve been in this venue’ he says as he slouches towards the microphone showing an unblemished comfort on stage. The crowd respond with cheers and chants and screams paramount to what you’d hear at Old Trafford, yknow, when Man Utd were good…
He opened with new ones ‘Limits Lie’ and ‘Don’t You Find’, both of which demonstrate the willingness of the Manchester crowd to have a good old sing song, but they definitely were yearning for the old classics which would allow them to rap along and dance, and they weren’t disappointed. Although a lot of his new, slightly downbeat, yet brilliant album was featured in his 21 song set, there were of course appearances from all of the old classics which gave the crowd exactly what they wanted. With the likes of old friends ‘Operation’, ‘Back In The Game’, and ‘Ike and Tina’ on the set list, the crowd became a free for all, with numerous crowd surfers completing the pilgrimage to the front of the stage. It was everything a Jamie T gig should be. That being said one of the highlights of the night had to be when Jamie donned his acoustic guitar and played the beautiful ‘Emily’s Heart’ which composed the crowd turned choir into a harmonised singalong.
Ending with a four song encore which consisted of ‘Calm Down Dearest’, ‘Sheila’, ‘Zombie’, and ‘Sticks and Stones’, there was not one part of me that wanted to leave. ‘Sticks and Stones’ was an absolute treat to see live and I never thought I’d get so much pleasure from screaming ‘LIGHTWEIGHT PRICK’ in a room filled to the brim with people. Jamie T planned his set perfectly, it culminated in a sweaty ruckus which everyone had waited a long long time for. You know the feeling you get a couple of days after Christmas when you feel like you have to wait soooooooo long for the next one to come around? Well, try waiting for 5 years and that’s what the crowd had to endure but it was definitely worth it, Jamie left the stage to a mass adoration of fans well and truly assured as to why they had remained loyal to the rebel of indie rock, whose albums they had fallen in love with years earlier.
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Review by Jack McCabe |