Almost five years of nihility (not even a single tweet on Twitter) and a handwritten note appears on the internet. “I have decided it might be time to play a few shows, hope to see you there, Jamie T.” That was back in July, along with the resentfully bitter sweet new track “Don’t you Find.” Now we’re in November, after nearly half a decade out of action the “Carry On The Grudge” tour is sold out due to phenomenal demand.
We here in Birmingham definitely noticed the absence. With albums ”Panic Prevention” and “Kings And Queens” plain sailing, Jamie’s mysterious sabbatical has created “Carry On The Grudge.” On first glance you might think the grudge comes from the “Panic Prevention” era but the album really isn’t as gloomy as it sounds. “Zombie” isn’t about the undead it’s the punkiest record on there. Equipped with a new band and new hat Jamie T is back on tour and tonight it’s at the Birmingham O2 Academy.
But first it was time for some 90’s escapism with support group Super Food. The talented quartet from Birmingham had pretty much every genre covered bar classical. If you like the B-52s or The Happy Mondays have a listen to the bands theme tune “Super Food.” “Yeah I speak to leaves cause I haven’t got any friends” sounded cool because lead singer Dom Ganderton said it and he has cool hair. If you’re bored of the band Peace but The Vaccines are too positive for you then “Melting” would be a good song to find on iTunes. There’s no sitting around strumming in this quirky masterpiece. The staccato finger picking over the natural guitar harmonies accompanies the message that “You Need A Holiday” “You’re melting away!” Super Food were the jolliest indie support act I’ve ever seen. It’s a good job Dom took the step up from producing records with “Peace” and “Swim Deep” to creating his own band. Instead of downloading individual songs the new album “Don’t Say That” came out at the start of November, it’s only £7.99!
The comeback was so long awaited that fans were waiting for the collaboration with Jamie and Mr T. The “Carry On The Grudge” album cover photo of a woman breastfeeding her infant child was revealed for all to see, silhouetted by the huge 12 laser lights above. The warm up shows have been and gone, “Jamie Jamie Jamie Fucking T” was the chant. And it was getting louder as the seconds ticked by. Then it all went dark for a minute or two, without so much of a hello “Limit’s Lie” started. The beginning you could mistake for a new U2 song, but the track finds its bearings when the 28 year old rips into the chorus. “Don’t You Find” also had a catchy chorus. This song will be an anthem at festivals, if you looked round the building in close detail a large proportion of the crowd were singing it to themselves quietly. The track sounds like what you listen to when you’re picking an ultimate team or browsing through the Menu on FIFA.
“Operation” cajoled the crowd into action but was swiftly shadowed by one of the darker tracks from the new album “Turn On The Light.” But like nearly all the choruses on the new album you find yourself singing along despite the melancholy lyrics “You made me bold like a whore, I wish I’d never been born.” Jackets were off now on stage as it was time for the once Zane Lowe record of the week “Salvador” and the catchy “So Lonely Was The Ballad” with its synthesized retro hip hop beat. You couldn’t hear a word Jamie T was saying when he was doing his old stuff, if you didn’t know the words you were the odd one out.
There were no special guests tonight apart from Super Food as the singer was ill, but unless the special guest was too a blast from the past it didn’t affect the night at all. One thing that was becoming apparent was that Jamie T couldn’t make his mind up on where to sing from, he didn’t stay still for the night going from left to right like he was talking to himself and not the crowd. The night turned into a stripped back acoustic set with tracks like “Back In The Game” and every song the crowd shouted out was played without hesitation from “368” and “Spider’s Web.” The encore wasn’t just “Stella”, at 22.45 “Sticks N Stones” finished the night off spectacularly. Panic Prevented, we were like Kings and Queens tonight there was great need to Carry On The Grudge.
Photographs: John Dent
Review: John Kirby