LIVE REVIEW: Jamie Lenman ‘Road To Lenmania’, Saint Luke’s, Glasgow, 05/07/2019
Two sets in one night might well be twice the work, but it’s more than four times the fun. Let’s go into the maths on that. Jamie Lenman’s Road To Lenmania features three excellent bands and two sets of his own. The first being an opening acoustic slot, bringing in his devoted cult fanbase for doors and encouraging them to watch the other supports, and the second being a full-on and triumphant headlining set. Its either punk rock marketing genius or an ego run wild.
It doesn’t take too long to figure out that it’s very much the former. Each of the band’s on this bill (and the resulting full-day line-up for Lenmania II at 2000 Trees) has been deliberately picked not only for their performance quality but their attitude. False Advertising, Frauds and Orchards are all wildly different musically, fuzzy post-hardcore to twisted garage rock and mesmerizing dream pop, but all share the same sincere love of their craft that Jamie Lenman does. That’s why he can command the attention of his audience across both sets.
The acoustic set is a much more intimate and laid back affair, peppered by self-deprecating and arch humour to cleanse the pallet from the desperately honest songs. The surroundings of Saint Luke’s, a converted church in Glasgow’s east end, only enhance the community aspect of the evening, something akin to a punk gospel for the over 25s. A jazz-infused take on Fizzy Blood, normally a chaotic noise jam, is a particular highlight, showcasing precisely the loving and tongue in cheek connection Lenman shares so effortlessly with his audience.
His second set of the evening, bathed in tastefully atmospheric red light to tie it into the artwork to Shuffle, is a lot more intensive. There’s barely a gap for breath as Lenman and Guy Davis (fellow Reuben alumni) smash their way through a set that covers both Jamie’s solo records as well as Reuben’s own back catalogue. Having seen Lenman last time he came north of the wall, it’s immediately apparent there’s a special connection between him and Davis that brings a new sense of ferocity and pace to the set.
From the slick and noisy interpretation of pop songs from Shuffle to the huge riffs of Devolver and the anthemic alt-rock of the few Reuben tracks, there’s not a single song played tonight that is greeted with anything less than almost manic enthusiasm.
It’s an infectious and vital performance and it completely explains why he gets his own stage at 2000 Trees and can have his own festival events.
Written By: Calum McMillan
Photos By: Calum McMillan