A release celebration of biblical quality.
On a bitter London evening, the grade II listed church of St. Pancras welcomed an audience that one might not usually expect to find during a Sunday mass. However, the subject of worship tonight was not the Lord Almighty, rather, the mighty Jamie Lenman and it’s safe to say that most churchgoers would crave these levels of intimacy with the object of their affections.
We gathered with the purpose of celebrating the launch of Lenman’s brand new LP – Devolver (check out our review here: https://wavebyte.co.uk/2017/10/24/jamie-lenman-devolver/). The audience couldn’t have comprised of more than 100 individuals and my Wavebyte colleague (coincidentally called Jamie) and I were fortunate enough to receive an invite. The remainder of the audience who weren’t friends or family was the most devoted of fans who were the quickest to pre-order Devolver.
The first half of the evening consisted of Lenman rattling through a handful of standout tracks from the new album – beginning with All Of England Is A City and ending with Mississippi – it was clear that these songs were written to be blasted out on an electric 6-string as oppose to an acoustic Fender equipped with notably heavy-gauge strings. Nonetheless, the songs sounded great which is a genuine testament to musicianship of artist. Lenman was very open about the fact that the songs were designed to sound heavy but performed with the aplomb and assurance required for any stellar run through of a track.
Personally, the most enjoyable parts of the show were the laughs that were shared in between songs. Lenman unleashed pithy and witty remarks at any given chance as well as bolstering the integrity of the intimate setting by offering up several anecdotes that he has picked up throughout his, now illustrious, career. A brief Q+A session also commenced within the first half of the evening, allowing fans to pose some questions that may have been slightly too obscure for most journalists to ask mid-interview. During this segment, we were told of Lenman’s affinity with pizza (a self-proclaimed “pepperoni shark”) as well as the name of his upcoming rap album – insightful stuff.
Throughout the latter half of the night, we were treated to some of the lesser played tracks in the moustachioed frontman’s catalogue. Highlights, of course, have to be the Reuben favourites Tonight My Wife Is Your Wife and Nobody Loves You – as a posthumous fan of the cult icons it really does feel like a dream come true to hear that these songs haven’t just been swept under the rug. I Ain’t Your Boy remains a staple of Lenman’s solo career and sounded just as good this night as it does any other night.
It must be said that the acoustics of the church made the performance sound phenomenal – the strums on the guitar reverberated off the antique foundations, while Lenman’s affirmed vocals filled the concrete vessel with ease. The evening closed with an inclusive rendition of Friends In Low Places which saw the only point of the night where fans actually sang along. It evoked a nice shift in atmosphere. I suspect that as a crowd we were subdued out of respect for the frontman. This was his night, and he owned it. My words can’t capture the intimacy of this evening, just understand that it was a special event and to be a part of it was an honour.
Given the circumstance, it was never going to be anything less than…