Anticipation was high at Portsmouth Guildhall for Jamie T’s arrival to deliver his ‘ The Theory of Whatever’ tour which was at its penultimate night. When I arrived at the venue there were a steady stream of fans already entering the venue and also filling up the surrounding pubs.
Those making a later entrance would potentially be missing an absolute gem of a support band for Jamie’s tour – 86TVs may be not appear to be a name that you would instantly recognise but you would certainly know the members. The band contain former members of The Maccabees, brothers Felix & Hugo White who have teamed up with their other brother Will White and Stereophonics drummer Jamie Morrison. 86TVs haven’t yet put out any material physically or on online platforms which adds to the mystery behind their style. Given the nature of the band members my expectations were high and I wasn’t disappointed, nor were the rest of the crowd. Working their way through 30 mins of originals, I caught Jamie T sitting on the drum riser watching and air drumming along. I’m looking forward to when the material is released and also for further tour dates.
From the minute Jamie T arrived on stage on his own and played the first note of ‘Brand New Bass Guitar’ the crowd were like putty in his hands, singing back every single word like they were reciting a sermon. The rest of the band then joined the stage as they moved into ‘Operation’. Jamie, wearing a classic AFC Wimbledon shirt from The Crazy Gang era, says to the crowd that they don’t usually play venues like this and that they will try their best to make it one to remember tonight. Jamie also acknowledges that his gigs and music can create quite a chaotic atmosphere and as much as he loves this, asks everyone to behave themselves. He said if they agreed not to touch him he’d jump down in to the middle of the crowd to play the next couple of numbers, the crowd form a circle and out jumps Jamie to play the older number ‘So Lonely Was The Ballard’ and ‘90s Car’ from the latest record. Wading his way back through the crowd to the stage Jamie loses the microphone which is then passed back to front via a roadie who jumped in to retrieve.
Jamie’s music always makes me reminisce to when I first heard him years ago when I was at university, I remember hearing ‘Salvador’ and it blew my mind. I instantly set it as my MySpace track (haha, who remembers that!) and tried to find a download out on the internet in the days of mp3’s!
Jamie is flanked by his guitarist Chris Woodhead, who also doubles as a tattoo artist, who brings out a ‘little guitar’ which Jamie claims should only be used by Mumford & Sons but they wrote a banger using one, ‘Spiders Web’, so have to play it.
The crowd energy throughout the gig is electric, I think Jamie thrives on this after what felt like a little bit of a slow start. As if the singalongs couldn’t get any louder, the initial set finishes with ‘If You Got The Money’ – what follows for the encore is nothing short of one of the best I have seen this year from crowd interaction. Playing the trio of ‘Sheila’, ‘Sticks N Stones’ and ‘Zombie send the crowd into delirium with people on shoulders, crowd surfing and bouncing everywhere! A fine way to finish a Tuesday night!