Classical and Jazz: Review – Jamie Cullum at Kenwood House

Published: 19 August, 2010

IF ever there was a night for curling up in pyjamas and pretending the world doesn’t exist, it was Saturday evening.

Kenwood House was enveloped in a cloud of mist as thousands of hardy Jamie Cullum fans broke out of their comfortable living rooms, and traipsed through the marsh-like grass to see him play.

The lucky ones who lounged in deckchairs looked strangely out of place in the August dusk disguised as November.

But Cullum didn’t care. “If you’re cold, dance around like me,” was his advice and, judging by his relentless, uncorkable efferves­cence, he was probably right.

However, the brie-eating crowd was too wrapped up in blankets and waterproofs to budge.

Cullum ran through the favourites, played the odd adapted cover – Radiohead’s High and Dry, Rihannah’s Please Don’t Stop the Music – and dedicated Moon River to his wife Sophie Dahl’s recently departed grandmother, actress Patricia Neal.

He brought his brother Ben on for the odd track, a singer with an almost equally attractive tone to his voice, and they jazzed up a few more tunes, adding a comic edge with lyrics like, “we may be middle class white boys from Wiltshire, but we’ve still got the blues”.

Cullum, newly married, adapted the lyrics to Twenty­something, to reflect the fact that he’s graduated to his 31st year on this earth.

I never expected a Jamie Cullum gig to end with a moshpit at the front, but, after he and his band did their encore party piece of taking their instruments into the crowd for a quick busking session, the cheese knives and picnic baskets went haywire, the wine glasses shot up into the air and the multi-generation moshing began.

An eccentric evening, made all the more enjoyable by Cullum’s infectious enthusiasm and self-deprecating stories.

Read the review here

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