LIVE: Jamie Lenman @ Islington Academy

By Adam Rosario

Jamie Lenman is one of the single most interesting acts in the vast wave of brilliant new British Rock happening right now. The former Reuben frontman has always had the creativity, whether writing crushing post-hardcore music or illustrating comics, his artistry knows no bounds.

Opening his set with latest single ‘Hardbeat’, with its rumbling tones and whispered vocals, it elicits a massive singalong from the crowd, something which isn’t rare tonight. Coupling a slower, more concentrated song with an out and out banger isn’t reinventing the wheel, but bringing ‘Hell In a Fast Car’ out second really sets the stall out that Lenman is going for the jugular. Watching a man play a guitar on stage whilst using a set of pedals to create bass tones, on the same guitar, is something to behold and marks Lenman out to be the complete musician he is seen as being.

Being the frontman of one of the most underrated bands Britain has ever birthed, he hasn’t forgotten where he came from. There are 4 Reuben songs on show tonight with ‘A Kick in the Mouth’ and ‘Every Time a Teenager Listens to Drum & Bass, a Rockstar Dies’ showcases the past and brings it hurtling into the present. ‘Eating Only Apples’ sees Lenman switch his guitar for a stint behind the drums, with his bandmate Dan taking centre stage to rock the strings.

Lenman also possesses the charisma to hold the crowd in his hand and bend them to his whim. Everything from his voice, to his outfit (a splendid white three piece suit) screams confidence.’All of England is a City’ is a particular highlight, with the crowd split up into sections to harmonise the outro. The set closes with a colossal ‘Mississippi’,with it’s Nine Inch Nails-esque electronics and riffs and the biggest chorus of the night, easily the best performance of the evening.

Until Lenman returns for a five song acoustic encore. Mixing songs from his two solo records and another Reuben song, one which many old-school fans have probably never heard this way brings the curtain down on a triumphant show. Lenman closed on ‘Let’s Stop Hanging Out’ but on this evidence, no one in the audience will want that to happen, and they shouldn’t. With multiple festival dates later this year, Jamie Lenman is set to break out into a league of his own.