Credit Natasha Coyle

Review: Jamie T @ O2 Academy

By Natasha Coyle

Jamie T performs the first of his two gigs at the O2 this winter.

On Tuesday 8 November 2022, I attended my very first concert. I’ve listened to Jamie T since a friend introduced me to him back in 2013, but I particularly love his first album – Panic Prevention – which is a combination of masterful lyricism, guitar riffs, and alternative music combinations. If You Got the Money was the first song of his that I distinctly remember listening to, and whenever I hear it the song fills me with teenage nostalgia. I really hoped his setlist would reflect the many years that he has been releasing music, from 2007 to his most recent album – The Theory of Whatever – released this summer.

With it being my first concert, I decided to take a seat in the balcony area rather than stand. Jamie T’s supporting act was 86TVS. I’d never heard of them before, but when I did a little research, I knew why. They are a newly formed band and admitted to the audience that this gig was their first, but their set demonstrated that they were by no means inexperienced. The band was made up of four men, two ex-Maccabees members, the ex-Stereophonics drummer Jamie Morrison, and one other. Their style was indie rock, and the opening song was incredible and uplifting: the dopamine boost had already begun. Morrison is an class drummer and 86TVS’s opening song had a long bridge which allowed his skills and experience to shine. It was truly a delight to listen to. The rest of their set had light and airy overtones which elevated the music even further. 86TVS’s set made me want to get up and dance and throw my hair about. I felt so uplifted by the 30-minutes of excellent music, and it had the crowd in a really positive mood, setting the tone for the rest of the evening. I really look forward to what 86TVS produces in the future, and I would 100% see them live again.

After a 30-minute break, it was time for the main act. The first half of Jamie T’s set was a good mix between acoustic songs – with only himself on stage –  and others including the rest of the band. He opened with two songs from The Theory of Whatever, including The Old Style Raiders, probably my favourite track of the album. The crowd was already electric, and the incredible atmosphere only grew throughout the show. Jamie spoke to the audience and said he wanted to create a set list that spanned “a bit of everything” – music to my ears, literally! Throughout the gig, you could tell Jamie thrived off the energy of the crowd, and this became especially clear as he bounced around the stage during So Lonely Was the Ballad. The title of this song, from Panic Prevention, is an ode to the lyricism, extensive use of metaphor, and intertextuality that is threaded throughout that album. 

The set transitioned back and forth between the first three albums, although Dragon Bones from his fourth also made an appearance. The guitar riffs in Limits Lie, and the ukulele riffs in Spider’s Web (a personal favourite of mine from Kings & Queens), received huge cries from the audience – myself included.

I personally thought that Rabbit Hole from his third album was better live than on the recording: the guitarists really elevated the song and the energy that Jamie T and the band brought to its performance was magical. It was a true banger, and the dancing/mosh-pitting in the standing area below me signalled that the rest of the crowd agreed.

Jamie T said he was “very appreciative” to be back touring again after a long time. Man’s Machine only made the crowd more rowdy, with an excessive number of mosh pits during that song. You couldn’t wipe the smile off his face even if you tried.

My 14 year old self was buzzing that Jamie played If You Got the Money! The song was truly electric. After this, Jamie T and the band went off stage, and the crowd started chanting “Jamie, Jamie, play the f****** tune”. The tune in question? Sheila, an intertextual and lyrical song taking inspiration from William Blake’s poem London, and a favourite on house party playlists in my late teens.

Eventually, Jamie and the rest of the band crept back on stage. It’s safe to say that he saved some of his best and most iconic songs until last. And thank goodness, he played Sheila: my teenage nostalgia was well and truly fulfilled. He followed with Sticks ‘n’ Stones, which allowed everyone in the crowd to let loose their anti-social inhibitions as they shouted along: “Out on the town to find trouble!”. Jamie T finished his performance with Zombie, probably one of his better known songs by listeners who aren’t die-hard fans. After singing the opening verse, he paused for a good two minutes: the crowd was cheering and shouting for him to continue, and then he jokingly blurted out, “BYE”. (He did finish the song).

I could not stop smiling throughout this gig, both during 86TVS’s set and Jamie T’s set. Jamie is an excellent musician and performer, and his confidence and stage management flourished as the gig progressed. I couldn’t recommend seeing him on tour enough, and it just so happens that he has another show in Glasgow on Monday 14 November. You do not want to miss it.


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