Review: Jamie T delivers festival worthy set at Sydney headline show with Hockey Dad and Polish Club

The NYE Festival Sideshows are coming through the capital cities hard and fast this week, and last night Sydney was treated to UK artist Jamie T, fresh from Falls Festival, supported in style by locals Hockey Dad and Polish Club.

Polish Club rocked the venue in their opening slot, comfortably setting the stage for duo Hockey Dad, who didn’t let their two piece stature keep them from embracing a powerful sound. It was easy to tell the group didn’t quite get the reception their used to; a Jamie T crowd isn’t necessary going to be into their style of surf pop, but it felt like a solid fit all the same, and both acts were an all enjoyable presence to kick start the evening.

By the time Jamie T and his four piece band walked onto the stage (to the classic “Wooly Bully”), it felt like Sydney’s Enmore Theatre was pulsating with anticipation; it had only been a year and a half since the artist last graced Australia, but it may as well have been a decade. In town to tour is latest album Trick, the set scattered the new tracks well, while ultimately dividing his time pretty evenly between all four of his records. It was, as such, a crowd-pleasing set, with songs new and old receiving a rapturous response from the eager crowd.

It felt like no favourites were missing from the 90+ minute set, which could have comfortably sat on any festival stage. Recent single “Tescoland” was one of the best received tracks off the new record, and came second in the night, and “Tinfoil Boy”, one of Trick‘s heavier numbers, came towards the set’s end, serving as one of the highlights of the night. Understandably, T’s biggest singles got the crowd the most excited – “If You Got the Money”, “Don’t You Find”, “Zombie” (which closed the night) and “Sticks n’ Stones” (which closed the main set) all had the crowd singing along to every word. But old favourites like “Operation” and personal favourite “Salvador” performed just as well; tracks off his first two LPs may as well have been singles by this point, with fans having had almost a decade to sink their teeth into them.

Though there were a few sound problems here and there which made the set slightly inconsistent in terms of its aural quality, the performance from T and his band was phenomenal from start to finish. Jamie also stripped it back for two songs – “Sign of the Times”, which he performed on the electric, and “Back in the Game”, which he opened the encore with and performed on the acoustic. Perhaps the highlight of the night, however, had to be before fan favourite “Sheila”,  which began with a crowdsurf into the crowd which did not go well – Jamie seemed to get swallow by his fans, eventually returning to the stage to proclaim, “you people are animals!”, seeming to lose his shoes in the process, which he ultimately took in his stride; after all, as he remarked, Joss Stone performs barefoot every night.

The set was notably identical to most of the setlists he’s been performing over the past few months, but it was understandable why – Jamie has done well to deliver a crowd pleasing group of songs, and few would have left the night disappointed. It helps that he has a damn fine band behind him too; fleshing out the music in interesting ways, ensuring the gig was an enjoyable as it was musically dynamic. There’s a reason Jamie has become such a stable of the touring circuit: he’s good at what he does, and the fans love him for it. And rightly so.

SETLIST:
Power Over Men
Tescoland
Operation
Dragon Bones
Salvador
The Prophet
Don’t You Find
If You Got the Money
368
Sign of the Times
The Man’s Machine
British Intelligence
Crossfire Love
Sheila
Tinfoil Boy
Rabbit Hole
Sticks ‘N’ Stones

Encore:
Back in the Game
Zombie

Jamie T wraps up his Australian tour tonight at The Croxton in Melbourne.