The new tunes are great, but it’s the gags that make this show – in a converted loo – so memorable. Ginglik, London, Wednesday September 9
Rewind!” hollers Jamie T, minutes after stalking onstage, as the sampled intro to ‘The Man’s Machine’ jams. “This isn’t a gig any more, it’s
a stand-up comedy show,” he smirks, instead opting to play a stripped-down (and quite lovely) ‘St Christopher’ while the problem gets resolved. In a way, Jamie T has a point when it comes to the comedy element: not because of the false start to the set, but because of the mid-song banter that
spills from his lips for the duration of the show.
Sure, tonight’s cosy fan gig might be significant due to the fact it’s his first outing since the release of ‘Kings & Queens’, but what makes it all the more memorable is Jamie’s wicked way with the witty stage repartee. Whether he’s ordering a round of shots from the stage (a Jägerbomb for him and a tequila for guitarist Luis Felber), bigging up the band’s sound engineer or getting into a spot of verbal bother with a bouncer, he has the crowd in stitches throughout. Then, of course, there are the songs. Tonight Jamie and The Pacemakers prove that they’re a punk band first and foremost, clattering into ‘Earth, Wind & Fire’, ‘368’ and ‘Chaka Demus’, tracks from the new record that already sound every bit as charming as the older material – ‘Sheila’ and ‘Back In The Game’ – that gets an airing tonight. The vibe tonight is nothing less than raucous, with Jamie nipping off the tiny stage and heading into the crowd, microphone in tow, to skank with mates on more than one occasion.
There’s a gentler side in evidence too, though, with the beautiful ‘Emily’s Heart’, which ends with a ‘November Rain’-style guitar solo delivered by Felber from the front of the audience. Jamie and his equally charismatic Pacemakers might well be playing the rather more
vast Brixton Academy next month, but the intimacy of the tiny ex-public toilet space of Ginglik suits them spectacularly. Whether inviting a guy up who’s just got engaged, or declining an offer to speak to someone’s girlfriend on the phone, tonight Jamie is as impeccable with his showmanship as he is with his songwriting. Here’s hoping Brixton’s just as excellent – we have a funny feeling it won’t be anything less…