Good things come to those who wait, and those disappointed by Jamie T’s postponement of his third night at O2 Academy Brixton in October, were finally rewarded for their patience by the Wimbledon singer-songwriter on Wednesday night.
Clad in leather and oozing with confidence, Treays blasts through hits from his first three albums and a smattering of tracks from his new album, Trick, released in September. The 30-year old delivers an explosive hour and a half set at breakneck speed, demonstrating his versatility and blistering talent.
Opening with ‘Power Over Men’ and ‘Tesco Land’ back-to-back, the rock n’ roll troubadour is unapologetic in putting his new material at the forefront of his live performance, and it’s a decision that pays dividends. The sheer raw energy of Treays’ performance is matched only by the chaotic enthusiasm of the youthful audience, who chant his name loyally throughout the set.
After apologising for cancelling the earlier show due to illness, Treays launches into chirpy hip-hop mode as he treats his fans to ‘Operation’ and ‘Salvador’ from his 2007 debut Panic Prevention. Before long, however, he reverts to his more broody and mysterious incarnation on ‘Don’t You Find,’ taken from 2014’s Carry On The Grudge.
It’s this ability to stride genres so confidently and expertly that make Jamie T such a joy to watch live. “You’re like a fucking hurricane next to me,” he drawls on ‘The Prophet’, and could easily be referring to the carnage in front of him, as the sweat-soaked crowd explode with glee during a triumphant performance of early single ‘If You Got The Money.’
The sheer pace of Treays’ music lends itself superbly to frenzied mosh-pits and breathless sing-alongs, but there is a subtlety and sophistication to his words that is often overlooked. On ‘Crossfire Love’, he confronts the crippling anxiety issues he has suffered from in the past; “Everywhere I went they stared so I looked/went over the hills and far away”, whilst on ‘British Intelligence’ his social and political commentary comes to the fore; “Taxed by a man that I’m yet to meet/Pay an army, I’m hardly ready to speak.” The passion and angst with which these lines are delivered leaves the audience in no doubt as to their authenticity.
Despite this, however, there are times when a good old-fashioned sing-along is just unavoidable, and fan favourite ‘Sheila’ is one of these occasions. Every word is belted back at Treays on stage, with “screams calling London” unsurprisingly the loudest line. The cult status Jamie T has acquired is laid bare for all to see.
Although best known for the frantic fast-paced pop anthems ‘Sticks and Stones’ and ‘Zombie’ which close out the set, it is Treays’ emotional solo rendition of new track ‘Sign of the Times’ that sticks longest in the mind after the show ends. In a brutal and slightly harsh assessment of his twenties, he muses regretfully that he wasn’t “a little more exceptional.”
Both as an artist and as a live performer, exceptional is exactly what Jamie T is. Stream ‘Tescoland’ below.