LIVE: Jamie Lenman @ Academy 3, Manchester (03/02/2018)

Date: February 3rd 2018
Venue: Academy 3, Manchester
Support: Loa Loa / Gender Roles


With uncertainty as to whether or not 2013’s bi-polar double album ‘Muscle Memory’ would be a one-off solo venture from Jamie Lenman, his fully-fledged return in last year’s full-length offering ‘Devolver’ saw him bust down the door back into the music industry, bolstered with a new found confidence, and dressed head-to-toe in a sheen white.

It’s Lenman‘s first time doing a more traditional full headline tour in over three years, and opening up on the run are British bastardised indie punk rock trio, Loa Loa [6]. Songs like ‘Give Me What I Want’ are very reminiscent of the likes of The Vines and the early and more ballsy The Subways. The Head of Art Attack lookalike frontman Josh Rowley gnarls with a punk bite, and sets the tone for the night early.

Brighton outfit Gender Roles [7] have a punk tinged grunge sound to them, akin to a slightly more polished ‘Bleach’ era Nirvana meets Basement. With candy floss pink hair, facial piercings, ear tunnels and similar onstage mannerisms, frontman Tom Bennett is like a millennial Cobain, and it’s really hard to not jump around and nod your head to songs like ‘About Her’, especially once the hook is buried in your head.

Coming onto the stage to the subtle pulse of set opener ‘Hardbeat’, Jamie Lenman [10] and his drummer and sole live band member Dan Kavanagh come forth to the stage dressed from head-to-toe in nothing but a stark and sheen white, almost like the second coming. The song slowly builds into its massive crescendo and, as soon as it does, it’s a party that appeals to everyone who has been following Lenman for the past decade and a half.

Stripped back to just the two members and two instrument input, the raw approach to the likes of new cuts ‘Waterloo Teeth’ and ‘All Of England Is A City’ is pretty clear, and separates the live experience to that of the album. Despite ‘Devolver’ only dropping just over three months ago, he’s already got a new song to pull out of the bag, and the unreleased ‘Bad Friend’ will certainly be a live staple should a studio version ever surface.

Fans of the Reuben years have their fill too. ‘Every Time A Teenager Listens To Drum & Bass A Rockstar Dies’ makes a rare appearance in the setlist, ‘A Kick In The Mouth’ still aggressively coaxes you into head banging as much as it did back in 2005, and Lenman and Kavanagh switch roles during oldie ‘Eating Only Apples’; Lenman taking up drum duties whilst singing as Kavanagh strums away.

One of the things that makes Lenman such a captivating and engaging frontman and singer/songwriter is how he confidently interacts with the audience. Even away from Reuben and with all eyes on him, he makes the crowd very much the main focus of the show. He segments the crowd into quarters and orchestrates a four-way harmony for ‘I Don’t Know Anything’, which even after a few pints sounds somewhat in tune.

The closing moments of acoustic numbers only illustrates Lenman‘s majesty further. It’s an absolute clap-a-thon during a stripped back ‘Bodypopping’, the crowd’s voice completely overpowers Lenman during the normally big band extravaganza ‘Pretty Please’ and, as he closes off with ‘Let’s Stop Hanging Out’, one of the pinnacle hits that catapulted him into the public eye and the music industry, the Lenmania hits hard. The only cure is another setlist hit, and we can only hope that it comes soon rather than later.

Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)

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