Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Live review: CHALK Brighton- Jamie T is back !

Electrifying noise filled the rainbow-soaked walls at CHALK Brighton as we all waited in anticipation for one man.

However, It's unmistakable that the expected buzz and hum of light chatter and pre-gig excitement was underpinned with something else here - another feeling entirely.

As we all gathered together under the soft hue of the lights, a thick aura of electricity set in. One that can only be born from an artist that has a fan base as devoted and hungry as this crowd.

I was first introduced to Jamie T when my older (and obviously cooler) cousin introduced me to ‘Brand New Bass Guitar' and it's safe to say ‘Panic Prevention’ and ‘Carry On the Grudge’ soon became the soundtracks to my teen years. 

This crowd obviously shared this same sense of nostalgic appreciation as a tangible longing set in the closer it got to show time. It's clear why this energy had engulfed CHALK… it has been nearly seven years since his last studio album ‘Trick’, and 'B sides' in 2018, a compilation of tracks from 2006-2017, and with that much of a break.. the anticipation for new content is next level.

Amidst the crescendo of noise in the room, eventually, as yellow lights illuminated the crowd, Jamie Treayes emerged from the wings gleefully brandishing his guitar and stepping back on stage with a toothy grin. 

Gleefully sauntering to the center spotlight, the thirty-seven-year-old Jamie T transfixed his audience immediately with a schoolboy charm so down-to-earth and authentic that you just can’t help but smile. The happiness from the South London frontman was partnered with a sense of bewilderment and humor as he claimed: “Thank you so much for coming … I haven’t done this in a really long time”  

Opening energetically with ‘Brand New Bass Guitar’, the crowd whooped and cheered chanting stand-out lyrics such as: “I.. I went to buy myself a handgun” laughing along as the singer swung his guitar along to the beat. It’s clear that this classic tune still has exactly the same effect on its audience as it did in 2007. A clear sense of pride was intertwined within the crowd's reaction as almost every audience member was sporting a smile. 

In true Jamie T style, the aura of his set throughout was welcoming and unpretentious and with absolutely no trace of ego in sight, this gig felt like you’d just stepped into a bar with an old friend, one who just so happens to be an incredible musician … and you're just well…  having a few beers and a chat. 

As the crowd shouted out cheerful encouragement and witty anecdotes such as “CROISSANT” and “Jamie F*ing T” laughter rippled throughout the audience and as the artist sat atop a single wooden stool with his guitar humbly on his back, he couldn’t seem to keep a smile from his face. 

With the release of his new album ‘The Theory Of Whatever’ being six years coming, the singer touched on his age and how aware he is of the changes In his life. Confessing: “I am very aware of what I look like now and how old I am… and I like it! You won’t catch me down ya local Virgin pure gym!” Met with ferocious applause, the obvious display of vulnerability and open acceptance from the artist made the experience that much more humorous and inviting and made Jamie well… that much more lovable. With the least sense of egotism that a gig could possibly convey, you could feel the obvious acceptance and lack of pretense in the air, with clear defining energies of community spirit and joy throughout the set.

Flowing into ‘Emily’s heart’, the aura of the crowd instantly switched in tune with the artist’s attitude, from high-energy laughter to a deeper and more reflective side. With heartbreak and nostalgia continued within tracks such as ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ and ‘St Christopher’. The admiration and appreciation from the crowd didn't dwindle in the slightest as his slower songs made an appearance, the audience swayed in unison with interlocked arms and heads on shoulders.  Chaos, fun, and foot stomps ensued with ‘Sticks and Stones’, ‘If You Got The Money’ and ‘Zombie’ layered with a thick undeniable sense of nostalgia and themes of rebellion, teen angst, and celebration of youth with stand-out lyrics picked up by the crowd:  “Running with believers, no time for fever’ and “Pollute their lungs/ and threaten with the rep of their big boy brother…/ Momma still wants you home for supper” this feeling of nostalgia really became accentuated with the apparent age gap in the crowd, with a sense of celebration of all ages ranges for the lyrics and memories they evoked. A real collective understanding and unification. 

The defiant energy-packed encore caused the singer to bring out  ‘Sheila’ which sent shock waves of ecstatic applause throughout the crowd, a reaction that further cements why this artist has stood the test of time and is so loved and adored. 

After bursts of whistles and cheering Jamie announced: “I Didn't expect to be number 1! There is a small part of me that thinks I might bypass Beyonce” after delight and eruptions of laughter he continued:  “I think I'm getting a bit too ahead of my station?”

This show was a real testament to how humble and unaffected by fame this man is, despite his obvious talent and string of accomplishments he remains completely open and receptive to his fan base. 

It's safe to say my teen self is jumping for joy. And Jamie T is back in the game. I will definitely be looking to see him again. 

Felicity Giles


Images: Jamie T Acoustic album release shows - Tour Poster

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