King Creosote

King Creosote


King Creosote, aka Kenny Anderson, is a bit of a hero of mine. Shuffling on stage wearing a hoodie with a festival line up on (headlined by Idlewild and including himself…bet it was a good one wherever it was), he introduces his band as his seven dwarfs and gently launches into ‘Something to Believe In’, the opener from his most recent album From Scotland With Love. It’s repeated refrain of ‘I promised you a feeling, something to believe in’ could be a manifesto for tonight’s performance, as I pretty much experience all the feels one can feel (well, the good ones where music is concerned) over the course of the night.

Last time I was at the Academy 2 I was watching the incendiary rap duo Run The Jewels absolutely slay the place; it’s safe to say, tonight is somewhat different but no less brilliant. Anderson and his merry band (a keyboardist, cellist, double bass player, electric guitarist, drummer, backing singer and violinist), create an evening that feels like putting on a warm blanket against the winter chill of a January night.

Anderson’s vocals, at once fragile and strong, are crystal clear, the stories he weaves through his songs shining through the brilliant musicianship on stage. ‘For One Night Only’, about going out on a weekend after a hard week’s work (reminiscent of Alan Sillitoe’s incredible novel ‘Saturday Night Sunday Morning), is a lively jig that could have come from a Belle & Sebastian album, a stand out moment amongst a night of stand out moments. Another one is ‘Search Party’ from his new EP, (so new that when he sings the three songs from it in the middle of the gig he has to use lyric sheets), sung mesmerisingly by his female backing singer as he slowly teases wonderful noises from an accordion, it’s utterly beautiful. The highlight though is a tender ‘Pauper’s Dough’, that begins solemnly but grows and grows gently to a powerful climax of ‘you’ve got to rise, above the gutter you are inside’, the whole band swelling to a peak that sends shivers through my entire body.

Anderson’s stage chat is top notch too, introducing ‘Great Believer in Threes’ as ‘the kind of nonsense that comes out of you when you break your ankle in three places’, and his complete takedown of the ridiculousness of encores could be added into a stand up’s routine at the Edinburgh Festival. He exudes warmth from the stage into the crowd, and I think (think!) he’s only half joking when he says ‘this has been the best night of the three on the tour so far…’ his genuine smile betraying the wry wit in the statement. After a stunning ‘Kirby Grips’, the ‘encore’ (they never leave the stage) starts with a wonderful tribute to the recently deceased Demis Roussos in the shape of his hit ‘Forever and Ever’, a genuinely touching moment. He makes the crowd embrace the person next to each other during ‘Homeboy’, taking the piss out of his outburst when he catches himself hollering ‘let’s do this’ mid-song, but reassuring us that from the stage the hugging crowd looks brilliant.

The final song of the night is a cover of The Alien’s ‘Happy Song’, a Ronseal tune that leaves the crowd beaming from ear to ear. Leaving the venue into a bitter Manchester evening, I barely feel the cold waiting for the bus home as King Creosote’s warm blanket is still very much around my shoulders. A wonderful evening.

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