Live Review

Jamie T, Finsbury Park, London

30th June 2023

A show for the books which sees the singer-songwriter’s legacy dipped in bronze.

“Are you with us, because this is the biggest moment of my life right now,” asks Jamie T of the huddled masses in front of him a few songs in. While many of his mid-noughties indie boom peers have either shut up shop or peaked and petered out, the view of this 40,000-strong crowd in Finsbury Park captures Jamie still at the height of his powers.

2022 saw Jamie T return in a blaze of glory, kicking off with a raucous Glastonbury set where he packed out the John Peel tent despite an almighty clash with Paul McCartney. Album ‘The Theory of Whatever’ was a critical and commercial success, the songs pleasing fans of old while also showcasing a compelling progression in both his songwriting and sound – and earning him his first number one. Absence making the heart grow fonder it seems.

Tonight’s is a well-paced set. While cuts from ‘Panic Prevention’ and ‘Kings and Queens’ evoke nostalgia, it’s not a crutch Jamie leans on to whip out a crowd-pleaser; his new songs are just as rapturously lapped up by the audience. In fact, he kicks off with the still-brand new ‘Hippodrome’ which finds him in a rarely reflective mood with its references to “baggies sweating in your sock”. The soaring ‘Old Style Raiders’ is an early highlight as is the slinky moody groove of ‘‘90s Cars’.

Jamie T, Finsbury Park, London Jamie T, Finsbury Park, London Jamie T, Finsbury Park, London

‘St George’s Wharf’ sits elegantly next to ‘Emily’s Heart’ in a lovely intimate acoustic moment. Famously private in nature, his cap is a constant feature of the figure he cuts - it starts bowed low across his face but as the set goes on, his eyes eventually meet his audience; it’s thrilling to see him toss it to one side with carefree abandon during the euphoric chorus of ‘The Man’s Machine’ which is belted back to him as he’s left open and armourless in front of the crowd.

“This is the first time we’ve played outside in the dark,” he declares mid-set. Time plays tricks and that fact is a strange thing to consider. Looking back, the arc of Jamie T has seen him forever riding an upward curve and that doesn’t go unappreciated. “We’ve been doing this for 20 years and we’ve done it the right way,” he says cloaked in a Wimbledon AFC shirt as a nod to his roots. “Thanks for sticking with us.” Heartfelt declarations like these churn up a beautiful homecoming atmosphere, a perfect setting for the triple-punch encore of ‘Sheila’, ‘Sticks ‘n’ Stones’ and ‘Zombie’ which rounds off the evening with rampant fervour.

Jamie T is someone who prides himself on his ramshackle approach, but a songbook so intimately conceived works wonders in a field of this size with its big heart and melodies as sticky as its relatability. A show for the books which sees his legacy dipped in bronze.

Tags: Jamie T, Reviews, Live Reviews

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