Jamie T battled off a bout of illness to make sure his O2 Academy Leeds’ show went ahead at the weekend.
Crowds queued round the corner for Saturday’s sold-out show, however the box office was swarmed by an array of disgruntled fans who had paid up to £60 for tickets, only to find out (when denied entry) that their tickets were phoney; it was chaos.
Inside, people couldn’t move for plastic pint glasses and Fred Perry shirts. With this only being Jamie T’s second UK tour since coming back from a five year break in 2014, it’s likely that many of the people there had been waiting a long time for this moment. This particular show was also carrying a bit more atmosphere down to Jamie being forced to cancel three shows prior to this date due to a bout of flu, leaving people in fear that he might also pull this one at the last minute.
They needn’t have feared; Jamie walked on to a hero’s welcome and wasted no time. His band looked like silhouettes against a giant backdrop of new album ‘Trick’s haunting Caravaggio-esque artwork and launched into recent single ‘Power Over Men’, which filled the room with an instant swagger that punches much harder live than on the record. If he’s still feeling the flu, he wasn’t showing it. It was then straight into ‘Tescoland’, another track from the new album that would sit snugly on classic album ‘London Calling’.
The next few songs continued with equal vigour until things were slowed down in the form of ‘Carry On The Grudge’ and sleazy ballad ‘The Prophet’; while Jamie sings the song with a deliberate faux-drunken slur, the crowd didn’t have to pretend. His faithful band The Pacemakers filled out the sound perfectly, with ‘Don’t You Find’ carrying some serious weight for a song considered one of his lighter numbers.
While loud and rowdy should be compulsory adjectives for any Jamie T show, it proves too much for the Bragg-esque ‘Sign of the Times’, a beautiful self-confessional song that ends up being rushed, it’s as if Jamie gets halfway through and knows it’s a lost cause to anyone beyond the third row. That aside, ‘368’, ‘Sheila’ and ‘Rabbit Hole’ provide the soundtrack to sweaty carnage in the stalls and the dedication in the room is clear.
Some of ‘Trick’s strongest songs such as ‘Joan of Arc’ and ‘Dragon Bones’ didn’t make the cut despite having been played a few shows prior, but nevertheless the set was an eclectic mix spanning all four albums. The night finished with a breakneck speed version of ‘Zombie’ that conjures the crowd into one final frenzy. The biblical backdrop may have disappeared but in its place stands an equally larger-than-life Jamie T, assuming a Christ-like status over his acolytes as he captivates the room.
Check out our photo gallery of the show below:
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