Jamie Lenman / Lindsay West / Lee Martin [Live Review – The Boileroom, Guildford, 31/1/15]
After the previous evening’s You Me At Six-centric pop-rock extravaganza, Guildford was in need of something a little more low-key this past Saturday night. Fortunately the Boileroom’s booking team had it covered, offering acoustic vibes from two underground talents and one certain legend; a perfect contrast to the full-on mainstream rock angle taken just 24 hours before.
Lee Martin got things off to a quirky and passionate start with his own fascinating brand of British Americana. Think mournful vocals peaking in gut-wrenching catharsis over delicate guitar and a smattering of tastefully-employed effects. Martin employs a writing style often reminiscent of Chris Cornell to back up a well-balanced fusion of traditional singer-songwriter nous and modern digital technology, achieving something remarkable along the way – and it was awesome to see the Boileroom’s earlycomers get behind him.
While Lee Martin took things to the left of centre, Lindsay West made her own impact with straight-talking directness. Constructing delicate and fragile songs using gracefully lilting electric guitar, plaintive vocals, and an additional slide guitarist for added chills, Lindsay West provided a welcome breather for those left scratching their heads at her predecessor’s experimental approach. Especially considering the last-minute nature of this set, it was great.
During reviews, those who attend a show don’t often get much credit for its success – but Jamie Lenman’s Audience were as much a part of the headlining set as Jamie Lenman himself, and so deserve a special mention. Lenman’s set felt more like a family gathering than anything else; clearly the spirit of the old-school Surrey and Hampshire scene remains alive in the hearts of many. I Ain’t Your Boy was made all the more moving by spontaneous backing vocals, while Shotgun House; If You Have To Ask You’ll Never Know; The Last Time (dedicated to Boileroom Head of Sound Olly Dexter on his last night at the desk); Tonight My Wife Is Your Wife; a special non-ear-splitting version of Fizzy Blood; It’s Hard To Be A Gentleman; golden oldie and set highlight What’s Good For Me; a cover of Cyndi Lauper’s Money Changes Everything; Pretty Please; and Deadly Lethal Ninja Assassin were given the singalong treatment and added up to a goddamn immense experience. And that’s what this show was, as it always is and always has been when Jamie Lenman comes to town – an authentic, emotional, and unforgettable experience.