Jamie T was the icon for the middle class British youth who simply just wanted to be rowdy. The English singer/rapper presented a unique form of music in 2007 with his debut, Panic Prevention with his punk/ska beats, his scrappy delivery and his smug and arrogant demeanour.
But by the end of 2010, after touring for his sophomore effort Kings and Queens, Jamie T disappeared.
It wasn’t just your regular “oh he’s probably working on some new material” disappearance. It was a “Jesus, I hope he’s still alive” disappearance. Apart from vague sightings on social media, no one really knew where the likely lad from Wimbledon had gone, leavings trails of fans around the world in disbelief.
Jamie T’s return to music was one of the most celebrated events in 2014. Even more exciting was his sold out concert at the Forum Theatre on 24th January.
The excitement was palpable within the mosh. Those who had grown up with Jamie T and his music had come back to relive his boyish charms. Squished inside the venue was a sea of Adidas sneakers and sports jackets – the set uniform of Jamie T almost eight years ago. This was finally it – the man had finally come back and he was about to make up for lost time.
The concert opened with the opening track of his 2014 album Carry on the Grudge, Limits Lie. Front and centre on stage, he showcased to the audience how much he had changed during his self-imposed exile. Here was a darker, more emotional Jamie T who was more reserved in his performance. The Jamie T who haphazardly rapped his lyrics over punk melodies was now singing. Not only that, singing in an obviously more thoughtful and emotional manner. He was deep in his performance.
Jamie T came on stage looking beyond his 29 years. He wasn’t the scrappy post-teenager that permeated the aesthetic of his first two albums. He didn’t have that same air of arrogance or energy but rather, he looked tired. The lines on his face were more apparent from a distance. What used to be a shaggy mop of brown hair had now become coiffed and slicked back, which added some extra height to his frame.
However, his first two songs of the night was really the only point throughout the whole concert where he showed off his new introspective music. Knowing his audience, he started playing the energetic music he is famous for. Out of the 20 songs he played in his 90 minute set, 7 were from the new album. The other 13 were absolute fan favourites, with everyone in Forum Theatre screaming along to every word.
As the trip down memory lane continued, the audience started to get more and more rowdy. The jostling, the pushing, it was comparable to a riot. By the end of If You Got The Money, the energy in the room had built up to the point where it needed a release point. That release point was his encore.
If Jamie T had left the music scene because of what he called a ‘crisis of confidence’, it certainly wasn’t due to a crisis in his performance. He knew exactly where his strengths lay, and what the people wanted which was pure Jamie T. His encore contained his three biggest songs: Sheila – his signature; Zombie – his lead of the new album/the start of the Jamie renaissance and his biggest song in Australia – Sticks and Stones.
Despite the energy level of the audience, Jamie T performed each song with his new found swagger. It was a quiet sign to tell everyone that he wasn’t that same smug and arrogant voice of the British youth. Now he was a rock singer.