Jamie T, Barfly, London <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

With The Streets' Mike Skinner now making concept albums about his on/off relationship with fickle fame and class A drugs, and Lily Allen crying out for a male counterpart, could Wimbledon native Jamie Treays be the new chav superhero?

Clutching his pint glass, dressed in a hoodie and baseball cap, Jamie T looks unprepossessing enough - a skinny 20-year-old with traces of acne. But merely making his way to the stage to tune his guitar he elicits a hero's welcome from the packed crowd at London's premier indie sweatbox.

With a big buzz around his MySpace site, strong support from hip radio DJs and three much-fêted singles ahead of his debut album, Treays' time is evidently approaching. Thus far he has done much of the legwork alone, producing mix tapes, hosting his Panic Prevention club nights and playing solo gigs.

Tonight, though, he's teamed with a second guitarist in a Guns N' Roses T-shirt, a lean, black bass player ("even 50 Cent says he's the man") and, at the keyboard, a bloke in thick dark glasses and a hoodie who adds boisterous harmonies.

With an uncanny knack for placing one-liners into his motor-mouth, "spit" style rapping, Treays' talent is distinct from his obvious antecedents. Like the Arctic Monkeys, his songs are action-packed, full of lyrical detail but with an edge - his love for explosive ska and the offbeat rock reggae finessed by The Clash drives many of the songs.

Small wonder many of them are already favourites; the audience all but drowns him out at times. Playing the tale of alcoholic mayhem that is "Sheila", he issues a reprimand: "If you're going to sing along at least get the words right." But there's a real feeling that his lyrics, and the tumultuous way they are delivered, connect with a recognisable if occasionally surreal world - one where "Mother's drunk on vino and the kids are smoking Bisto".

Add in helter-skelter accompaniment from a band given to hairpin-bend departures, synthetic string sections and wonderfully wigged-out guitar solos, and the excitement is all too understandable. With the spirit of Strummer so apparent in his music, it was only right and proper that Treays dropped a few lines from "Complete Control" in the stand-out "So Lonely Was The Ballad".

Touring to 8 November ( www.jamie-T.com)