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After an assault on the UK charts and an abundance of accolades at the tail-end of the noughties, British singer-rapper-songwriter Jamie T fell off the face of the earth.
Putting his signature blend of punk-inflected pop on hold, he consciously took a step back from the spotlight and experimented, recording and writing an impressive 180 songs during his sabbatical. Skillfully condensing those 180 down to just 12, Jamie T resurfaced in 2014 with a newfound sound and twice as much swagger.
Casually clad in a denim jacket, pencil-thin black jeans and Adidas trainers, he was extremely relaxed on stage, yet energetic behind the mic throughout his sold-out Sydney gig. Easing into the spirited set with newer, more contemplative tracks Limits Lie and Don’t You Find, it quickly became apparent that Jamie T was far from fallen or forgotten.
Angsty tracks like Operation and 368 from earlier albums instantly whipped the crowd into a frenzy with sweat-drenched punters clambering to the tops of shoulders for the best vantage point. Empty cans speared the stage and sneaky ciggies sparked as the feverish crowd gave a fist pump salute to both the artist and their younger selves. “We’re going to play some old and some new. You up for a good time?” he encouraged the crowd as he signalled for them to raise their voices.
Zealous fans surfed a sea of hands during British Intelligence and I Got The Money, relishing both the nostalgia and tight performance before the band left the stage. Surrendering to the claps, cheers and chants, Jamie T and band bounced back on stage, reassuring the room that they had time for a few more favourites.
Much-loved tracks such as Sheila and Zombie had the crowd jumping once more, mimicking his every word, but it was the fun, familiar, razor-sharp lyrics of Sticks ‘n’ Stones that drew the set to a climatic and triumphant finish.
A rollercoaster night of new and old, Jamie T’s set was as entertaining as it was aurally pleasing. Although his newfound sound can at times seem a little subdued, the punk-rock fire in his belly is far from extinguished.
Image: Jamie T Live At Sydney’s Metro Theatre / Photo: Lara Amos