LIVE REVIEW: Jamie Lenman rips up the stage - and the rulebook

Jamie Lenman
Jamie Lenman
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In a hot, dark and sweaty club basement, a revolution is taking place.

Jamie Lenman, former frontman of much-missed post-hardcore outfit Reuben is holding court. He’s also holding the audience in the palm of his hand.

We’re in the compact and bijou surrounding of the Key Club, Leeds, but the love the crowd give off for him would fill a stadium.

Whilst no artist likes the straight-jacket of a musical label, Jamie Lenman has done more than most in his refusal to be pigeon-holed. He’s blown up the mail room and torched the sorting office for good measure.

It means his set-list offers an incredible diversity, so the country hoedown of If You Have To Ask You’ll Never Know, or the quiet acoustic heartbreak of It’s Hard to Be A Gentleman can sit alongside the drummer-combusting, moshpit strobe that is The Six Fingered Hand.

He no longer even needs a band to create an avalanche of noise, just his guitar, assorted pedals and amp rig - plus the astonishing percussion of drummer Dan Kavanagh.

It’s vital, visceral, life-affirming and shot through between songs with Lenman’s wit and personality.

His solo shows are still peppered with Reuben classics and tonight the die-hards are treated to some deep cuts including Best Enemies, Cities on Fire, Blitzkreig and Parties Break Hearts.

But the gig looked forwards too, with new tracks like Mississippi showing he hasn’t lost his crown as one of the alternative scene’s most accomplished songwriters.

And as the crowd bubbled up from the basement into the Leeds night there could only be one disappointment for the Reuben fans who still hold out hopes of a reunuion.

On tonight’s evidence it’s clear he doesn’t need them

J P Cooper at Leeds University. Picture: Louis Hobbs

Gig review: JP Cooper at Leeds University Stylus