The year is 2020 AD, the month November. Music fans across the U.K. are desperately trawling the internet for the next gig announcement to get their hit of multiple bodies in a dark room staring longingly at a much more talented person on stage, whilst supping over-priced beer. The stench of leaking urinals nearby, a beautiful place to be.
So when Jamie Lenman announced a run of two acoustic shows at the now well established south London venue, the New Cross Inn, those baying alt rock fans sold it out pretty damn fast. Jamie then announcing a third show and further shows across the country (some now awaiting rescheduling due to the second lockdown).
It is unsurprising Jamie is at the forefront of socially distanced gigs, having already performed at Signature Brewery back in August, he not only dresses like a gentleman in his white shirt, suspenders, suit trousers and dress shoes, but he is wants to be there at the forefront to support ailing venues during this unprecedented time. He mentioned when announcing these gigs ‘I"’ve been trying to find some solutions regarding how to keep myself and the creative industry going". As an undoubted legend within the U.K. rock scene for the last 15 years, his support is invaluable.
After an hour of the distanced households settling in with Sunday evening beers via the stellar service from the venue staff, Jamie enters via the front door of the venue, walking through the tables to a grateful reception of music addicts. He then opens a 19 song set with humour and his effervescent personality continues throughout.
Opening with ‘The Future is Dead’ which he very much agrees is very apt for the time, this stripped back version from the B-side of his latest album King of Clubs is just the first of a cherry picked set list mostly spanning his solo work post-Reuben, including heavier tracks toning them down to a much more palatable tone for your eardrums.
Moving through other solo era bangers from Devolver, Muscle Memory and his cover album Shuffle the room becomes a sanctuary from the madness of the world outside. Halfway through Jamie is joined by his wife Katie, to add some beautiful additional vocals for the likes of ‘Little Lives’ and a cover of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time After Time’. Their dynamic duo adding some variety to the set.
Jamie’s pretty much flawless delivery of his songs is only tarred by forgetting the lyrics to ‘Best Enemies’, which the crowd don’t mind one bit as the hushed singalongs turn up a few notches to help fill the gaps. Jamie and the crowd share a laugh in a moment after, which he jokes it was ‘their treat’ so he could play an Annie Lennox cover straight after for his own pleasure.
Just when the crowd think they’ve been treated enough after playing his ‘last song’ of ‘Mississippi’ to a rapturous applause, Jamie closes the night with one of the few Reuben songs he plays tonight with ‘Let’s Stop Hanging Out’. The crowd sing along with strong more defiant voices for a moment forgetting that normality and ‘real’ gigs have been removed the past few months. It is beautiful and a reminder that we must #saveourvenues and the whole ecosystem that surround them. God Bless Jamie Lenman.
Jamie Lenman's latest record King Of Clubs is out now via Big Scary Monsters.