Star rating - 8/10
Jamie N. Commons is one of the BBC sounds of 2012, and judging by the gig at Sacred Trinity Church in Salford on his first headline tour, that accolade is well deserved. He is just 22, with an interesting background fusing Bristol, Chicago, and London; but the sound he creates is pure blues.
He has a rich, deep, gruff voice, which is very surprising coming out of such a young, self effacing and modest guy with his 5 piece band. Of course he could have misspent many years already on whisky and cigarettes, and for all I know he might have done, but somehow I doubt it. Many of his songs are very Old Testament, very apt for the church setting, and tell of heartache and the fires of hell. So nice and dramatic then, just the way I like it.
He is very modest, and the way he couldn’t quite believe that all the audience had paid to come and see them was very endearing. The set mixed loud blues/rock numbers, with some quieter ‘romantic’ songs. A highlight was ‘Devil In Me’, their new single, released at the end of March. Overall the night, and in particular Jamie’s voice, was exhilarating and bewitching. And they finished off with a lovely a cappella version of ‘Hold On’ to finish – which is my favourite track from last year’s EP ‘The Baron’.
And if he needs a few more years to get the country and blues scars of performers like Tom Waits, Muddy Waters, and Johnny Cash, then I’m sure his growing numbers of fans, will have an incredible time watching him acquire them.