Artist: The Jamie Freeman Agreement
Venue: The Square Tower
Date: 25th October 2014
There are few better sights in the live music setting than watching an artist thoroughly enjoying what they are doing, and subsequently transforming that joy from the stage down into and amongst the audience.
Step forward Jamie Freeman and his band The Agreement. Of course, you still need the musical chops and to come up with the musical goods, but with songwriting of Freeman’s calibre that’s pretty much a given.
He effortlessly eases another packed Square Tower crowd in gently with some solo acoustic numbers – opener “Just You” fuses an angular acoustic riff with echoes of English country folk n blues – but slowly and surely brings on individual members of the waiting band to augment other tunes from the debut album such as “Lilly’s Boarding House” and “It’s Your Lucky Day”, which helped to gradually build the momentum of the show.
So by the time the second half of the show starts, the full Agreement are firmly in place and proceed to rock the socks off of our ancient monument. Drawing mainly from the stunning 2nd album “100 Miles From Town”, the band provide maximum Americana with bass player Emma Lewis and drummer Joe Ellis providing the strong foundation around which Jamie builds his songs.
There are times this evening when the band truly achieve lift-off. There are few pure Americana pop gems around better than “Steel Away”, with its blatant use of saccharine-sweet jangle and heartbreak slide, as Jamie and lead guitarist Jonathan Hirsch trade killer country licks effortlessly for fun.
Top that with gorgeous harmonies from Abby Downs and Emma Lewis and you surely have a recipe for success. “The Knight” continues to harness the mood of the moment with its real down and dirty swamp groove, which then morphs into a raucous cover of Steve Earle’s “Copperhead Road” with band in full electric flow.
Freeman has an easy, beguiling stage presence with the natural ability to draw his audience into his songs and – this is the clever part – not only are the songs great individual pop tunes, but the boy is getting across some serious points too in his lyrics.
Witness the audience sing and clap along to “Hey Mama”, a harrowing tale of child abuse, and the shimmering beauty of “Hey Hey Indianna” and its axe murder!
And all too soon the band are leaving the stage, only to be called back on for a well deserved encore, steamrolling their way through “Thou Shalt Not Kill”, almost country-punkesque in its teetering-on-the-edge delivery and religion = control motif.
Another evening of prime quality Americana indeed!
Photos Courtesy of Donna Brown
“An evening of high quality Americana and hi-jinks at The Square Tower with The Jamie Freeman Agreement courtesy of Square Roots Promotions.” (Dan Ogus)
“Great evening again. Many thanks. Julie and I thoroughly enjoyed it – can’t beat live music!” (Adrian Clabburn)
“Another superb night. Great band. Great venue. We love Square Roots nights!” (Stephanie Bray)
Here’s a bonus video of the band performing “Hey Mama” on top of the Square Tower just prior to their show. Filmed and edited by Lloyd Brown.