Jamie T / The Bishops - Late Room - 19.6.06

Macca may be 64 with what could turn out to be the biggest messiest divorce settlement of all time impending, but it hasn't stopped The Bishops looking to more innocent times. Ok, maybe not as innocent as Macca's Frog Chorus or Ringo voicing Thomas The Tank Engine, but a time where teenage girls went wild at a simple headshake rather than Justin Timberlake whipping his snake out for some action across Janet Jacksons malfunctioning breasts. To all intents and purposes The Bishops are 3 lookers who couldn't find a cynical Lennon to counteract their Macca, George and Ringo and decided to go into Stars In Your Eyes just for the crack and ended up beating Gallagher to the Top prize. "Only Place I Can Look Is Down" features everything you could ever wish for in a modern pop song from the jingly jangly Byrd-isms of the chorus through to the chugging intro which with a different producer would sound like QOTSA rather than a 60s beat band, "I Cant Help Feeling" sounds
like the Housemartins with 3 part harmonies that put the Futureheads to shame and "In The Name" is Brian Wilson jamming with Paul McCartney. If these songs weren't so damn good the Bishops would be a joke, but on the right support slot such as touring with Weller or Nic Armstrong the Bishops could be one of the biggest bands the UK has seen in years.

Internet sensations have come so commonplace we have one for every occasion. The NME adopted internet baby of the Arctic Monkeys who were signed to Domino records who paid a team to get their songs out on the net to as many people as possible, Lilly Allen daughter of a media luvvy but with songs and an album to back it up, the fake internet sensation of Sandi
Thom and now we have Jamie T - the poster boy for the internet generation. Mates with the Mystery Jets and the Eel Pie Island communion everything about Jamie T smacks of the ordinary and average in 2006 and by the time the ever predictable stage invasion happens during the final song Designer Magazine is bored to f**k.

It's not that Jamie T is particularly bad, it's just that he's not the genius talent the rest of the world seems to think he is. Starting off with a semi-acoustic set for 3 songs as seen on tour supporting the likes of the Kooks you'd think that the lord had just sent his son to the scene kids. The reality is more closer to those touring troupes of undercover cops and unemployed actors who went into innercity schools in the mid 90s singing about crack and k holes in a performance poetry style and maniacal zeal.
While Jamie T is perhaps more lyrically developed than Mike Skinner or Alex Turner it's far from the Billy Bragg for the noughties tag he's been given early on in his career so far.

When the full band join him onstage things improve but there's something cynical and tokenistic about the setup like the Mercury Music Prize judges have manufactured a session band to appeal to all subsectors of the yout. One part emo for the Panic! At The Disco fans, a bald man for the Orson fans and one black man to keep it "real urban" like, while Jamie T sits up front as the middle class poets ala Doherty.

"Salvador" is modern classic with a ska base and Super Furry Animals knack for wrapping up obscure influences into a great pop tune. On the other hand "Turn To Monsters" is about as Urban as Brian Harvey and is just plain embarrassing. The rest of the set veers from the very very good to the downright f**king atrocious.

It seems that being an internet sensation such as Jamie T will take you so far, but the biggest challenge to be faced is selling records in the long term and that's where you feel Jamie T's going to fall flat on his face. If this guy becomes more than a cult concern we'd be very surprised.

Alex McCann

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