“When I was younger I wrote a song” Jamie Treays opens up out of the blue like an X-Factor contestant clinging onto an artificial sob story. “I forgot about it and then I went to make some tea the other day and the song was on the fucking radio” he laughs before dedicating ‘If You Got The Money’ to Radio X linchpin John Kennedy.
Four minutes later and still gasping for breath he grins once more, “John played the demo on his radio show and then later told me he thought the album version was shit!” There’s something different about this reincarnation of Jamie T; aggravations surfaced by previous album Carry On the Grudge have now lifted and T, who has openly been vocal about having anxiety, finally appears comfortable in his own skin.
The now thirty year old, who adopted a leopard-print shaven head during the making of latest album Trick, has changed his spots numerous times since his 2007 debut Panic Prevention, but on this tour it’s all come together. ‘Tescoland’ swaggers with the same immature ignorance as earlier tracks ‘Operation’, ‘Pacemaker’ and ‘Salvador’, the trio sending the crowd into a premature frenzy. ‘368’, which has never been known for its presence, sees a guitar-less T lunging across the stage spitting into a mic as if Alex Turner’s had just discovered Skepta’s lyric sheet.
The twenty-one song set is a marathon rather than a sprint, with slower tracks paced out. The rest of the band vacates the stage for ‘Sign Of The Times’ leaving T posing as a singer-songwriter once more and ‘Back In The Game’ sparks the cheeky chappy inside him as he jams amongst the lyrics, making quips for a few cheap laughs.
Undoubtedly so, ‘Sheila’ and ‘Sticks ‘N’ Stones’ cause the most furore but new juggernaut ‘Tinfoil Boy’ is T’s chance to be the bully in the playground as Florence Bell’s “trick trick trick” sample cackles menacingly around an audience left in suspense. It’s Jamie T at his best; orchestrating his most self-assured show in years without being afraid of allowing old sparks fly.