“Teenage dreams so hard to beat,” reads a banner hanging in the John Peel tent. It’s a nod to the iconic late DJ’s favourite song, The Undertones’ ‘Teenage Kicks’, but also feels fitting for tonight’s headliner on that stage (June 25). Jamie T’s seminal debut album ‘Panic Prevention’ turned 15 this January, which captures the essence of misspent youth of knocking back cheap booze on street corners, getting into scraps and falling in and out of young love.
Although Paul McCartney is topping the bill on the Pyramid Stage tonight (June 25), there’s still a whole tent full (and more) ready to sacrifice witnessing a real-life Beatle to experience the return of another national treasure. This Worthy Farm set is only the second the south London musician has performed in five years, following a tiny comeback gig in the west of the capital last month.
The reaction from the crowd at Glastonbury shows that T’s star has yet to wane, each song met by rowdy rounds of applause and cheers. After ‘The Prophet’, he starts unbuttoning his shirt, attracting choruses of whistles that he soon plays along with, lifting his shirt and rubbing his belly. “Belly’s gonna get ya!” he cackles into the microphone, adding to the giddy mood filling the tent.
Although the returning musician has a new album, ‘The Theory Of Whatever’, arriving next month, the focus tonight is mostly on the past. When his band leave the stage midway through the set to leave him to play his gentle new single ‘St George Wharf Tower’ on his own, the audience doesn’t even bother to feign interest – no fault of T’s or the song’s, but a very telling gauge of what is desired from the night. To his credit, he reads the room quickly, and later on even ditches “one more slow song” (‘Emily’s Heart’) from the setlist. He turns instead to conversation-quelling bangers like ‘Back In The Game’ – performed alone on an acoustic bass, just like in his early days – and the clattering anthem ‘368’.
Unfortunately, T being on a smaller stage than the Pyramid means he only gets just over an hour to whip through his back catalogue, and as quickly as he burst into life on stage, the set is almost over. He goes out in a blaze of glory, though, first launching into a crowd-uniting rendition of ‘Sheila’, sending screams of “Laaahndaaahn!” soaring up to the rafters. Then, he pulls off the 2007 British indie equivalent of Macca’s guest spots, introducing The Maccabees’ guitarist (and producer on his new album) Hugo White to help him rip through two final songs – an incendiary ‘Sticks ’n’ Stones’ and a pogo-worthy version of ‘Carry On The Grudge’’s ‘Zombie’.
After a buoyant first bellow of the latter’s chorus, T halts proceedings to remove his shirt entirely, encouraging his fans’ cheers as he stands proudly on the stage, arms aloft. “I don’t give a flying fuck any more,” he declares, a statement that feels like an exhilaratingly liberating announcement and the perfect way to usher in a new era of one of noughties indie’s most beloved artists.
Jamie T played:
‘Don’t You Find’
‘If You Got The Money’
‘St George Wharf Tower’
‘Back In The Game’
‘The Man’s Machine’
‘Sticks N Stones’
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