POST-GIG EDIT – Before I went out this evening, I wrote: “Can’t remember the last time I was this excited about a gig.”
… and …
“I’m particularly looking forward to this song”:
Now that I’m home again, I’m absolutely buzzing, and Pauper’s Dough wasn’t even the highlight! Whilst the concert wasn’t at all what I was expecting, it has turned into one of my undoubted highlights of the year. From managing to park just round the corner from the venue, through finding it’s a place that let’s you take a drink into the auditorium, to getting a single seat between two couples on the front row, my evening just got better and better. Hang on, I’m getting ahead of myself, but pffft, you’ll just have to forgive me for that!
Call me daft, but after reading Alex Petridis’ review in The Grauniad, and exchanging a couple of messages with friends, I was expecting to watch the From Scotland With Love film tonight, except with King Creosote playing the music live along to it. However, as soon as I got inside the Howard Assembly Rooms in Leeds, and there was no screen erected, that obviously wasn’t going to be the case.
First things first, support act Charlie Cunningham. An impressive guitarist – listen HERE – and one with a neat turn of phrase as a lyricist too. Debut EP out next month, folks, I suggest you look out for it. He left to warm applause, but his evening wasn’t over.
Tonight’s King Creosote line-up comprised Kenny for voice, guitar and accordion, “Captain Geeko The Dead Aviator” on (African) drum and occasional guitar, and “Pete-Harvey-Aged-11” on cello. The first few songs were exactly what I expected, namely Something To Believe In, Cargill and Largs. With no film to keep time to, Kenny was able to get into full-on chatty mode between songs, which was much appreciated by all, and particularly funny ahead of Miserable Strangers. But then they caught me out: Pauper’s Dough came up next, so I wasn’t ready with phone on video mode. Oh well. You’ll just have to take my word for how good it was, albeit lacking in backing voices to create the crescendo of the studio version. Even here, Kenny was pushing my emotional buttons, by changing the studio version’s “I want better for my boy” to “I want better for my girls”.
Once we’d got the selection of songs from FSWL out of the way, we could get into the back catalogue. Amongst others, Leslie (a request following a session at Jumbo Records earlier in the day. Kenny: “We’ll play you one of the two you asked for.”), 678, The Anne Frank Break and potential new DsD fave On Esther’s Planet (why don’t I know this song? It’s ace!) were all well introduced, well played and well received. Late on, Kenny expanded the band to a four-piece by getting Charlie Cunningham back on stage, and gained brownie points from this reviewer by eschewing the drawn-out, clichéd shenanigans around calling for an encore. So we got straight into Bats In The Attic (actually a rare mis-step in the evening – I thought I spied a little evidence of having-to-go-through-the-motions here) and Not One Bit Ashamed, which pleased the aforementioned Jumbo attendee no end – this was request 2 of 2.
But then, all of a sudden, the evening was over. 85 minutes gone in a flash.
At this point, as I’m leaving, this was going to be an 8/10 score gig. But then I turned and went back into the auditorium to see what was on “the merch stall” Kenny had plugged earlier. When I saw that Pete was manning the desk, and Kenny was chatting with whoever wanted him, I dived in. Knowing I was going to write this review, I asked if there was a written setlist I could scrounge as a crib sheet. When Pete said ‘No’, I found myself mumbling an apology, along the lines of “Oh well, not to worry, you played a lot of my favourites anyway.” As Kenny signed my new CD copy of That Might Well Be It, Darling, I added “In fact, about the only one of my favourites you didn’t play was … And The Racket They Made, which probably doesn’t lend itself to being played live.” Kenny looked at me, grinned, and beckoned me to follow him. He got Captain Geeko to unpack the guitar, sat me down next to him on the edge of the stage, AND PLAYED IT JUST FOR ME!
I could have cried, folks. The song means an awful lot to me anyway, has done for years, and everyone I know knows it. Add the missing 2 to that 8/10 gig score immediately! I did walk back to my car and drove home, but quite frankly I could’ve flown back here unaided, I was THAT high!!!
Thank you Kenny, very VERY much indeed. Hope to see you again soon, maybe at Halifax Minster next time, eh?
Now … have I come down from the clouds enough to go to bed yet?