I came into the depths of Rock City, wondering whether or not after 5 years of his last album, I’d just be surrounded by a bunch of hipsters who knew only the lyrics to ‘Zombie’. In a sold-out gig I was quite surprised how big his fanbase had grown; the seemingly forgotten London lad was back again for good. I found the other day the ‘Kings & Queens’ CD I begged to my dad for my 16th birthday, to burn it to a mix for the car. Well worth going over the good times I guess.
By the time the Slaves had come on the crowd were already going crazy for a support band no one had heard of. All I saw was darkness before a horrific sounding, mismatched vocals (better known as screamo) to the metal lovers stretched amongst the stage. I’m all for appreciating different genres of music, but this was hardly the good representation of that style. The crude, misogynistic lyrics, sweat rubbing against me from hairy men, and being constantly pushed by moshers wasn’t a great start to the night. A few drunken fights later (not by me I must add), the party was just starting.
I think the Rock City lighting guys just got amusement from the fact the crowd kept of yelling furiously every time the lights dimmed down. But finally, they came to pitch blackness and onto stage came the man himself, dressed like a pauper with the award winning smirk across his face. He started off the glorious night with a ballads from his new album, ‘Limits Lie’ and ‘Don’t You Find’ to get the crowd going. He was there to promote his new album after all, so why not.
The excitement of his presence after so long was enough to get everyone going. After a few oldies, but goodies, the all familiar sounds from his previous album ‘Kings & Queens’ album emerged. He blasted out classics like ‘Hocus Pocus’, ‘368’, The Man’ s Machine, and ‘Earth Wind and Fire’, all very well written and lyrically superb. When he whacked out his acoustic for ‘Emily’s Heart’, the slow sways and subtle head knocks just summed up how perfect the atmosphere was. After a while of darkness, you could just softly hear “Sheillllllla.. Sheeeeeiiiiiila.. “ chanting along the gloomy lit crowd like a marching band in a movie scene. “Sheila goes out with her mate Stella..” hummed softly from the dark stage as the audience uproared with energy. I’d never seen a gig so thrilled.
Drawing towards the end of the night, he definitely left the best to last. His melancholy voice trembled “Love, she sees apart from me, possessed behind the eyes..” and the rest is history I guess. By 10.30 he just said “This is the last song of the night guys.” and we all knew it was a queue for ‘Sticks & Stones’; the song which gave us the push to remind us what we had all hopelessly missed. As they all say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. We all still love you Jamie T and hope to see your cheeky grin soon.
By Gabriella Ahmed