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Jamie Lenman - King Tut's, Glasgow - December 6 2013 (Live Review)

Monday, 06 January 2014 Written by Jonathan Rimmer

One of the most influential figures in underground UK rock throughout the early 2000s as frontman of Reuben, Jamie Lenman made his return with the album 'Muscle Memory' in November. Given his time on the sidelines, it was safe to assume that he would be a little rusty upon returning.

But, if we ignore the formal dress code and new twirly moustache, this was the same old Jamie, offering wit, passion and that incredible ability to sing and scream in equal measure. Whereas his old pal Frank Turner chose to return to his hardcore roots with a new project, Möngöl Hörde, Lenman simply split his album in two - offering searing post-hardcore and swing-inflected tunes on each side. Tonight's sold out crowd fervently belted out both styles.

Support act Kill Chaos did a fine job of recalling Reuben, while the band's gravelly, bass-led sound, as well as their penchant for a tasty riff, also marked them out as a less exuberant Pulled Apart By Horses. These comparisons perhaps suggest that the trio's main obstacle is finding their own personality, but that will certainly come with time.

With that said, when Lenman did launch into cuts from his previous band's catalogue, it was immediately noticeable just how beloved and unique Reuben were.

A passionate crowd roared back the words to No One Wins The War, Moving To Blackwater and Good Luck among others. For many, it was like being 15 again. Credit must be given to Lenman on his setlist decision – though the comparisons to his old band will inevitably irk him, he was not naïve enough to make a return without acknowledging his past.

What is striking is how his songwriting ability has not diminished with age. Tracks like I Aint Your Boy and Shotgun House certainly came across as more mature in tone, but they still possess the vocal hooks that have always been synonymous with his work. The dancing between different genres did come across as somewhat divisive in a live setting, but songs like All the Things You Hate About Me... hit about as hard as any hardcore track you're likely to hear.

Overall, Lenman's return has been successful and surprisingly satisfying for old school Reuben heads and new fans alike. Would it be too late in the day to suggest that he could carve out a solo career in the same way Turner has? Or maybe, as 'Muscle Memory' has shown, he will continue to do things his own way.



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