Live Review: Jamie Lenman at the Islington Assembly Hall 21/4/2014

Hawk Eyes

Hawk Eyes are one of a few important rock bands who still play music based around massive riffs and hooks but importantly run their guitars through overdrive pedals. Hard rock used to be a staple of the British heavy music scene in the early 2000s but nowadays its bands with glittery, jangly chords that bother the charts. It’s this exact reason why Hawk Eyes fit so well on a bill with Jamie Lenman who found his fame with the much loved Reuben; a band equally founded with riffs and overdrive pedals in mind.

Hawk Eyes have a hard time making the crowd move but this was always going to be the case when the crowd are this dedicated to the headline act. Regardless, the band get a warm response at the end of each of their songs and put in a strong performance despite the fact that the guitars often get drowned by bass. Hawk Eyes are also sporting a new drummer who smashes through the set admirably and fits right into the fold even if vocalist and guitarist Paul Astick acts a little nervously during an unfortunate snare mishap.

Either way Hawk Eyes put on a brilliant performance full of great rock songs that nicely raises the temperature of the room in time for Jamie Lenman’s appearance.

Jamie Lenman and his Heavy Mellow Band

Holy shit you guys, I think Jamie Lenman might break into the mainstream. If the size of this venue and the amount of people that show up tonight are any indication as to how far the man has come since his Reuben days then I would place a serious bet on this happening. This is probably the biggest stage I’ve seen the man play and flanked by his Heavy Mellow Band and an additional three man brass section, Jamie has the crowd eating from the palm of his hand.

Smashing through a set full of alternative metal, hard rock, big band music and old school rhythm and blues, Jamie offers a hugely eclectic set of songs to digest and it’s enthralling to watch. Starting the set heavy before moving into some solo acoustic numbers before bringing out the brass, Jamie and the Heavy Mellow Band offer up a hugely diverse evening of guitar music. Jamie is really beginning to remind me of the mighty Devin Townsend thanks to the sheer scope of his show and the almost theatrical nature of the performance.

While Jamie’s solo stuff is sounding incredible in a live environment with ‘Fizzy Blood’ being an excellent opener and ‘Pretty Please’ sounding enormous thanks to the brass section, it’s the sprinkling of Reuben songs that set the crowd on fire. ‘Song For Saturday’ and ‘No One Wins The War’ put the audience into full-on, sing-a-long mode with the intimate ‘Nobody Loves You’ even bringing my terrible croon into the mix.

During a quiet moment in between songs, Jamie claims that this is probably his favourite show he’s ever played and considering the man is infamous for not really enjoying his time on the stage that’s really saying something. It’s up to us now. We need to keep Jamie on these stages and watch the man go from strength to strength. Jamie is a seriously important presence in British rock music and long may his reign continue. Jamie has put together one of the best showcases of live music currently touring the country and you’d be a fool to miss it.

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About Lewis Clark

Long time fan of rock and metal, webmaster and lead writer at UK Scumscene. Occasional co-host of Catbird's Sunday Roasting on TotalRock.com, 12pm to 3pm every Sunday View all posts by Lewis Clark

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