Jamiroquai at The Roundhouse in London, gig review

From the opening bars of the first track, it's impossible to stop smiling

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​It’s been a long while since I’ve witnessed a reception like this.

The Roundhouse is rammed and, from the heaving happy masses on the main floor to those throwing shapes in the circle, the warmth of the crowd is infectious for Jamiroquai's first gig on UK soil in six years.

From the opening bars of set opener ‘Shake it On’ – from new album Automaton released the same day – it's impossible to stop smiling. 

The accomplished band, clad in black, are so tight it's as if they’ve been on tour for the past year. When in fact, this is only their second performance (they premiered the show in Paris two days before this London show).

Lead singer Jay Kay, sporting an incredible animatronic LED-lit crown (the word ‘hat’ really doesn’t do it justice) still has that unmistakable soulful voice, and is as light on his feet as he was a decade ago.

Even at 47, dad dancing will never be a part of his repertoire. Although the Stretford-born man does let slip that the reason he’s been away for so long is that he “had to have two kids”.

Jay Kay and his band perform a clever set that weaves tracks from the new album in with his glorious back catalogue, often without a pause, running one track into the other. Classic ‘The Kids’ blends into new track ‘Dr Buzz’, ‘White Knuckle’ into a storming version of ‘Cosmic Girl’ that has us all singing along. And not in a bad Stone Roses-karaoke way. 

Music Box Session #5: Blanco White, by admin

For the duration, Jay struts the stage: his awesome manga-esque crown opening and closing in time to the tunes, lights pulsing away while the stage is bathed in reds and purples, and lasers flit around the roof. He crams an incredible 20 tunes into the set before exiting to the dying strains of ‘Love Foolosophy’. 

For the encore – a brilliantly bass-heavy rendition of ‘Supersonic’ – the venue is transformed into a heaving hands-in-the-air club. It sends the crowd out on a justifiable high. 

It’s great to see Jamiroquai back – a perfect, life-affirming antidote to these troubled times. Now where can I get that hat?