Finding His Feet: Jamie Payet @ Chapel Off Chapel

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It’s never too late to go out there and start a solo music career. At 45 years old, Melbourne-based musician, Jamie Payet, is doing just that.

 For 25 years, Jamie has either been performing in bands or for other original artists. 2016 was the year Payet finally decided to take the plunge and make his own music.

 Released in September of last year, ‘Finding My Feet’ is the finished product, which was officially launched at the Melbourne Pavilion that same month.

 In just his second official gig since the launch, Payet performed with his very own 12-piece band, The Family Collective (including a string section!), in front of a loyal audience of family and friends, at Chapel Off Chapel on Sunday 30th April.

 Giving the show the title: A Night of Sincerity, Payet made it clear from the outset that these songs were about his life and his journey in finding the courage to bare his inner, musical soul.

 Featuring two 45-minute sets with a 15-minute intermission, Payet and the Collective certainly had plenty of artillery up their sleeves to fill the time.

 The first half of the night was a slightly hit and miss affair but heavy on variety, both in musical styles and sheer invention. Payet threw everything and the kitchen sink at us from country rock (“Jealousy”), to a funk-soul number (“Looking at You”), to a fiery blues jam (“Trouble”), which featured solos from just about every member of Payet’s talented band.

 In fact, so fully has Payet surrounded himself with experienced professionals that the list of established artists who have performed with them reads like a who’s who of Australian talent.

 Between Payet and the Family Collective, they have played with the likes of Jimmy Barnes, Jon Bon Jovi, Renee Geyer, Mark Seymour, Tom Jones, Ross Wilson and Tina Arena. The list speaks for itself.

 Heavy on sentiment, Payet brought his daughter, Talei, out on stage to play keyboard on the poignant, torch song, “Till It’s Gone.” A touching way to close out the first half as Payet sat beside Talei at the keyboard.

 Kicking off with three ballsy, blues-rock songs (“Get Back Up”, “Sacrifice for Freedom” and “15 Minutes”), Payet and his band returned with a vengeance.

 The rest of the set continued in this consistent vein, as Payet and the Family Collective began to really gel. Guitarist, Claude Carranza had a real Frank Zappa vibe on stage with his face contortions and brilliant noodling. Trumpeter, Matthew Tubman had such controlled force and played with such joy that it was hard to look away.

 Unfortunately, this infectious enthusiasm didn’t apply to the whole band. The string section stood out like sore thumbs with their sullen expressions. They really appeared as if they didn’t want to be there.

 No matter though, the show went on with enough pizzaz to keep the energy levels high for the entire room.

 As Payet finished the set and walked off stage to rapturous applause, we all knew there’d be an encore but what song would he play?

 Keyboardist, Richard Tankard began playing a familiar intro. As the drums kicked in, leading into that glorious, opening guitar line, it soon became apparent.

 Channelling his inner Joe Cocker, Payet belted out a barnstorming version of “With a Little Help From My Friends”. A great way to go out, which seemed all the more appropriate given the sheer size of the band and the instruments assembled.

 The overall performance was made even more impressive by the fact that the band had only had three rehearsals leading up to it.

 A true tour-de-force performance, and, if Payet’s inspirational story is anything to go by, hopefully one that will inspire other aspiring artists to go ahead and do the same. It’s never too late.

Written by:

Sean A’Hearn
Melbourne Music Journalist