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Review: Jamie Cullum at The Sage Gateshead

Not everyone could get the Sage audience up and jumping but the irrepressible singer-songwriter had Hall One at his command on Friday night

Jamie Cullum
Jamie Cullum

Not everyone could get the Sage audience up and jumping but the irrepressible singer-songwriter had Hall One at his command on Friday night.

When he invited us to sing his melodies, there was no hesitation from an audience who deserve some credit for making the set a success.

Jamie may be 34 now but he was clambering on top of his piano then jumping off, dancing round the stage and running into the crowd. He just couldn’t sit still.

At one point he began banging on the piano, seemingly to the surprise of his band, and built up a rhythm by beatboxing at the same time. Then he broke into Rihanna’s Please Don’t Stop The Music.

When I Get Famous, from his latest album Momentum, is about a young man who decides to take up the piano in order to get girls.

“Now I know what you’re all thinking,” said Jamie. “But it’s not about me. I was the school stud. I was a hit with the parents, teachers, I had to move schools.”

His charm and good humour won over an audience already enamoured by his music.

His all-male four-piece band, who must be some of the most hard-working musicians in the business, each played about four instruments including saxophone, trumpet, double bass, glockenspiel, drums and cow bells.

They contrasted with support act Iceni, a female trio from Newcastle who describe their music as voodoo power pop and whose songs combined traditional English folk with hauntingly beautiful melodies and driving rock beats. They clearly loved playing together.

As Jamie drew to a close, he encouraged us to come to the front and soon there was dancing in the aisles.

“If you all come at once, they can’t stop you,” he said.

His show was slick and surprising but most impressively he had the audience eating out if his hand.

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