In 2007 he released his debut album Panic Prevention, predominately recorded in his bedroom, not that that had any effect on its popularity. In 2009 he released a more polished sounding LP titled Kings and Queens. This was the album that took the punk rocking scallywag from being a name you knew if your British mate gave you a hot tip, to being a name you knew if you listened to music.
But after all the love and success that Kings and Queens brought for Jamie T and his band The Pacemakers, the guy just….disappeared….for years! If you Googled him chances were your search results would be something along the lines of “where the hell is Jamie T!?”.
After a picture surfaced of Jamie behind a mixing desk and a band reported seeing “Jamie Tea” on a studio booking roster a sigh of relief that he was alive was followed by intense excitement that there was an album in the pipeline! Turns out the 5 year Houdini act was spent wring music, 180 songs worth of it, with 12 of them making it to an album titled Carry On The Grudge. An album that would of course be toured globally.
I had seen Jamie once before, on his Kings and Queens tour at the Hi Fi in Brisbane and had waited 6 long years to stand in front of his stage again. It was the final day at Splendour and the scene was set with a 6 O’clock time slot at the Amphitheatre. The sun had just gone down, I had two cold beers in hand and there was no chance of rain – bring it on!
The South Londoner came in strong with his 2009 smash Man and the Machine and the crowd swelled forward while we all tried to keep our balance in the swampy mud. ‘I think it’s gunna be a f*cking good evening ladies and gentle’ he said with a cockney swag. This was followed by the 5 year drought breaking single ‘Don’t You Find’. Renowned for his up tempo party punk sound, ‘Don’t you Find’ was not what we were expecting from Jamie’s return to music, but predictability is boring, and Jamie is anything but.
It’s always a testament to how good an artist is when their songs have the power to transport you. Jamie’s music has always taken me to a bar in England. Not one bar in particular, just any bar, so long as it’s filled with rowdy Brits standing on tables swinging their pints while they shout in-audible chants at the top of their lungs. While I drifted off to this place I was sucked back to the reality of Splendour at the sight of Triple J’s ‘Mayor Of Splendour’ crowd surfing on an inflatable couch.
One of the beauties of Mr. T’s catalogue is the diverse range. From the poppy fun of Sticks and Stones to the charmingly stripped back Emily’s Heart the man has a never dull index, and the set list played out like a ‘Best of Jamie T’. The festive tunes were having an effect on us all, while one bloke crowd surfed wielding a rake, a young lady atop her friends shoulders felt it was time to de-robe of all but her shorts.
Stomping his foot like it was on fire, the tom drums built and the hand claps of thousands followed as Jamie belted out recent release Rabbit Hole. Clash inspired Zombie was among the Carry On The Grudge repertoire, but as any good performer knows you’ve gotta deliver the classics, and that he did! Sheila and If You’ve Got The Money took us back to the old school goodness of debut album Panic Prevention, as well as scrappy sing along Back In The Game which seemed so ironically fitting.
If there was anyone who could recharge a day 3 crowd at Splendour In The Grass it was this guy, this band and these songs. Well played Splendour, well played Jamie T – the 6 year wait was totally worth it!
Words by James Wills
Images by Ashley Mar