There are those gigs/concerts that really grab you by the neck and just suffocate the life out of you. Yesterday at Kantine Am Berghain, the sides stacked with people melted. The red curtain drapes at the backdrop stood out more. The room became smaller, and I just completely forgot about the outside world.

For a brief moment (well at least for an hour and a half) MONEY took centre stage and that loon ‘Jamie Lee’ once again managed to get the whole crowd in the palm of his sweaty hands.

 

The Manchester-bred poet managed to do what he always does best – tell jokes

Seriously the guy should take up stand-up comedy if he decides to part with his music career. But that would be a serious blow to the music industry, maybe also to this ego of being centre stage, of being the charismatic drunk, because really and truly I think the guy was born to tell stories, but then again who knows.

With four beer bottles in his hand, as he made his way onto stage, Jamie immediately made it known to the audience that the messiah had arrived. Talking about a one-armed woman he met who was spitting Doritos at him whilst talking, and reference to her crack-pipe made, Jamie said it was indeed a sad day for him to be sober.

Therefore he decided to play a song about the story, which he hadn’t really played before. It was him and his acoustic guitar (which by the way had two Christmas tags stuck to the neck) serenading away sad lines about his horrific trauma of trying not to be drunk at least just for one day.

Jamie kept this sad Woody Guthrie routine for a while, belting out songs such as ‘I’ll be the Night’ ‘You look like a sad painting on both sides’.

The night started out more on the depressive side of things

With lyrics shouted out on the microphone – ‘This is your Suicide Song, this is your suicide song!’- clear reference to his song ‘Suicide Song’.

But Jamie did manage to bring some holy folly to the room, yes ‘A cocaine Christmas, and an Alcoholic’s New Year’ was surely the pudding of the night, and he still continues to perform it, despite mentioning the fact that people might not be pleased at all.

But hey that’s Jamie Lee for you, he does as he bloody well pleases

It was time to play a few songs from his first album – ‘The Shadow of Heaven’ – ‘It was the Flowers, not her that stole your heart’ – from the dreamy haze title track ‘The Bluebell Fields’.

I realised there were some fresh, young-looking new band members. A red-haired girl on violin, a bassist who looked like a sixteen year old, and one tall dude with a ponytail playing the cello. Yes these were the real musicians who Jamie Lee was referring to all night. But one had to give credit to Jamie, as he’s also a real musician in his own unique/twisted way.

‘Letter to Yesterday’ – another track from the first album got the whole house singing, as he mentioned ‘Who needs an orchestra when you’ve got a venue full of people to do that for you’. ‘If’ I’m a loser, then so is my life’ – lyrics which portray great honesty or do they? As he so well remarks, it’s that ‘All great storytellers are also great liars’.

Whether is a liar or not, Jamie Lee is at least honest on the subject of when a band plays a set list, leaves the stage, waits for the applause and then comes back on stage for an encore. MONEY did that also, however they were honest about it beforehand.

Of course the audience would clap more, of course they would shout his name, of course they would say ‘We Want More’ – it’s how great gigs function. And come up on stage he did, only to leave us with a choice of whether we wanted him to perform ‘Goodnight London’ or another song.

It was the song that closes the night which won

And Jamie positioned himself next to the piano, and with the violinist accompanying him on the other side of the stage, it was a blissful, stunning moment which truly showed that the guy does love both boys and girls. It’s human nature I guess. Jamie was singing for the dreamers, sleepless in their dreams, back home in London. ‘Goodnight London, Goodnight London, Goodnight London indeed.’

Review by Shawn James