Jamie T and the Pacemakers + Ernest Ellis – Metro Theatre (16.09.09)

Jamie T is one of those performers with whom you know you probably SHOULDN’T like – but there’s something about him that keeps drawing you back in – and his live show, the first of an impressive two sold out nights at the Metro, proved much the same.

Opening for Jamie T was Ernest Ellis, an artist I can’t say I was familiar with before I entered the Metro tonight, but as I was greeted to their tunes, I couldn’t help but enjoy it. For one, they had a fantastic Sound Engineer, who had perfected the often-difficult-to-manoeuvre Metro set up. You could have easily been listening to a record at times, even to the point that I found myself singing along incoherently to tracks I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard before.

Either there’s something familiar with their music, or it’s just easily catchy. Either way, you’ve heard it all before, but in this case it’s not a bad thing – because you like it.

By the time Jamie T and the Pacemakers hit the stage, the sold out all-ages crowd was itching for their appearance – they were, after all, running slightly late (naturally), and much of the crowd had parents who needed to pick them up! But when they hit the stage, Jamie T wasted no time in hitting the crowd with what they loved, in this case, the first track off of his first LP, “Brand New Bass Guitar”.

For the rest of the show, focus naturally lay on his latest LP, Kings & Queens, with particular standouts being “Spider’s Web” featuring the rarely heard ukulele, as well as the heartfelt “Emily’s Heart” and latest hit “Sticks N’ Stones” which both made up the encore. Perhaps strangely, his most well known tracks, “Salvador” and “Sheila” finished out the main set, rather than the encore, but naturally didn’t disappoint the crowd in any case. For me, however, “Sheila” felt rushed and under loved by Jamie T and the Pacemakers (his fantastic backing band). Everyone loves the sound bites, and they definitely made the deliberate decision not to include them – they had the sound bite in “The Man’s Machine”, after all. Maybe they’re just sick of the crowd screaming LONNNNDDDONNNNN. I sure as hell would be.

While the show was genuine quality the whole way through, it did, admittedly, all feel a bit rushed. While there was a decent amount of banter and crowd interaction, including a “Pop Song” chant leading into “Chaka Demus” (which was also dedicated to Love Police and You Am I), I still got the sense that he just wanted to get through his tracks as quickly as possible. And all the meanwhile, I still found myself surprised that I liked his music at all. This style of brit-pop meets hip-hop is rarely up my alley – but I think that’s simply because it’s never been done quite as well as Mr. T (no relation) here. It isn’t perfect, but just like his live show, you can’t help but enjoy it despite its flaws. And I certainly had a good night here – so much so that I wish it went beyond an hour!

If you missed out on tickets this time around – not to worry! He’s coming back for Falls Festival in just a few months, and there’ll no doubt be some sideshows to boot… who knows? Maybe we’ll even see him perform at Festival First Night as part of Sydney Festival!

Brand New Bass Guitar
Earth Wind & Fire
So Lonely was the Ballad
Back in the Game
Spider’s Web
The Man’s Machine
Chaka Demus
If You Got The Money

Emily’s Heart
Sticks N’ Stones

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.