By Stephanie Riley
Jamie T made a long-awaited a return to the stage, after 5 years playing an amazing show at the Manchester Academy. A packed out venue of loyal fans saw the singer play a variety of old and new songs, ending with the anthem that is Sticks and Stones. The singer/song writer has a real honesty and story behind his seemingly arrogant, yet fragile demeanor. Connecting with his audience, and thriving in a smaller arena like the Academy, enhancing the experience and his showmanship. Jamie’s songs echo that of his personal trials, for example, his crippling problems with an anxiety disorder, as well as exploring the teenage misbehavior of his youth. The set was two hours long, which shows the stamina of this performer, as it was a high energy perforce from the start. The whole crowd got involved with the performance throughout the entire show, which will surely silence the critics who say he’s somewhat lost his touch. With a comeback gig like this, it was clear to see that Jamie’s 5 year absence was indeed felt by his fans and the music industry as a whole. His fiercely original music, which is hard to place in a rigid genre, manages to appeal to a wide age range, as the crowd was packed with those from 14 to 44. Mixing ballads with elements of reggae, electronic and rap is a task not to be taken lightly, however the young artist manages to do it beautifully. Due to his long absence, there was some tension as to whether Jamie had lost his showmanship and his ability to engage with the crowd. I can safely say that his performance has been absolutely unaffected by his absence, as the whole crowd did not shy away from singing along to classics such as ‘f You Got the Money and Emily’s Heart, as well as the chart climber Zombie. With a thrown in acoustic version of Salvador, this was certainly a gig not to be missed.
Stephanie is a third year English Literature student at Manchester Metropolitan University. Follow her on Twitter: @stephriley_ or read her personal blog via stephriley.wordpress.com