My love for Jamie T is well-documented here at LA Music Blog, so when the Brit singer-songwriter announced a rare handful of dates in the States back in September, I knew immediately that I had to make it out to his show at The Roxy. What I didn’t know at the time was that I’d get hit in late-November with a flu so bad it would have me laid up for weeks.

It would take more than a headache, and a cough, and an achy everything to keep me from finally seeing Jamie T live, though. According to WebMD, I was safely past the contagious stage by the night of the show, and so with a purse full of cough drops and a voice loud enough to at least give the girl at the will call window my name, I headed down to The Roxy Wednesday night, ready to fulfill a wish five years in the making.

Jamie T at The Roxy 4
All photos by Mikiel Houser

I arrived in the midst of a simply exhilarating set by former LA Music Blogcast guests Irontom that left me kicking myself for not getting to the venue earlier. Between the band’s Cursive-meets-I Am Kloot sound, frontman Harry Hayes’ spastic yet somehow still sexy dance moves, and the group’s unexpected take on Gorillaz’ “Feel Good Inc” (which now ranks among my favorite covers of all time), the set shot these guys to the top of my list of acts to keep an eye on in 2015, and I suggest you do as well.

During the lengthy soundcheck between sets, I took a minute to assess the crowd. Bespectacled, plaid-shirted Silverlake hipsters waited patiently next to bohemian WeHo types. Several dudes wearing scarves were in attendance, as was at least one Brit. (I know she was British because she called me “love” as she squeezed past. And she had a British accent.)

A disproportionate number of tall people seemed to be in the house (or maybe they all just decided to stick together…right in front of me), but like Jamie T’s music itself, his fans seemed impossible to pigeonhole. When the curtain finally rose on Jamie T and his four-piece backing band a little before 10 PM, however, one unifying characteristic became apparent: we were all really fucking excited for this show.

Jamie T at The Roxy 3

Once the cheers died down, the set kicked off the same way as Jamie T’s recently released third full-length album, Carry On The Grudge, with “Limits Lie,” and I got my first look at the Brit in person. Well, half of him, anyways; he spent most of the first half of the set standing perpendicular to the front of the stage, his hunched, leather-jacket-clad back facing alternating halves of the audience.

Jamie T at the Roxy 5

Jamie chatted with the LA audience frequently during the performance, but like the off-kilter stance and the occasional nervous wiping of his eyes, perhaps the casual banter was simply a coping mechanism, a way to push through the anxiety that has plagued him throughout his career.

To be honest, I only understood roughly every third word or so anyways, his thick South London accent combining with a mumbled delivery and frequent shouts of “I love you, Jamie T!” from the crowd to make full comprehension nearly impossible, but as the night wore on, he did seem to relax a bit, smiling more readily and even putting down the guitar to dance at one point (though he had picked the instrument back up by the midpoint of the song, new album single “Rabbit Hole”).

The dynamic set included tracks from Jamie’s three LPs in fairly equal number. Carry On The Grudge’s “Turn On The Light” and “The Prophet” were personal live favorites from that album’s selections, while the crowd went absolutely nuts bouncing around to the infectious album single “Zombie.” A good portion of the venue pulled out their smartphones to record Panic Prevention’s “If You Got The Money,” while the encore performance of that album’s “Sheila” was met by waving hands and screams.

Tracks from Kings and Queens may have received the most universal approval from the audience. “The Man’s Machine” garnered the biggest sing-along of the night, and my voice finally started to give out around the time I tried to keep up with Jamie’s rapid-fire delivery of “Sticks and Stones.” He introduced “British Intelligence” from that 2009 release as “a song about Big Brother,” and though the performance itself was a bit sloppy, the crowd went absolutely nuts for the track.

In truth, I had expected the entire performance to be a bit more polished than it was, probably because I’m so used to the flawless production of the recordings. In a live setting, however, Jamie’s punk side shines through more prominently, and the occasional off-note or uneven tempo actually felt somewhat genre appropriate and didn’t detract from the immaculately constructed songs’ impact in the least.

Those mistakes also served to make the already sympathetic performer even more endearing, and while I might have set my recovery back a day or two what with all the dancing, I don’t regret my decision to attend the show one bit. It gave me a chance to see another side to one of my favorite musicians, a flawed, human side, and while Jamie T proved to be an imperfect artist, it was still a perfect night.

Jamie T at The Roxy 7

For more info:

Jamie T