The Garage in Highbury has seen a few changes these past few years. Gone is the shabby look of old, replaced by the shiny new interior and, as tonight’s headliner Mr Jamie Lenman notes, gone too are the spikes that previously hung from the stage ceiling.
One thing that hasn’t changed though, is the ex-Reuben frontman’s wit and charisma, something he brings in bulk to tonight’s performance. Whether its screeching through the heavier tracks from his double-sided debut solo album ‘Muscle Memory’, or, surprisingly, launching into the much-loved tracks of his previous band, his charm never falters.
Switching flawlessly between heavy and soft tracks, its the latter which feel more poignant. An acapella performance featuring six band members causes the whole audience to join in with their toe-tapping, while ‘Good Luck’ is an all-round sing-a-long, with Lenman adding his own touches to the second verse. Tellingly, at the end of the song the frontman notes the importance of the connection to his audience.
There’s a bittersweet sense in the room as the much-matured singer returns to his roots with ‘Moving To Blackwater’, a track from Reuben’s debut album. Although the song carries a lovely wave of nostalgia, its also a sign of how much has changed since its release. Gone is the dream of rock-stardom that Lenman must have carried at the time, along with former bandmates Jon Pearce and Guy Davis, both of whom have since departed to other projects.
As the night comes to a triumphant close with ‘Shambles’, a very old classic from the Aldershot three-piece, its an overjoyed crowd that will spill out onto Holloway Road tonight, albeit burdened with the knowledge that the songs they loved so dearly have come alive tonight for possibly one of the last times.