King Creosote | Live Review

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His tales and audience banter between songs are welcome after the heightened emotions of the more elegiac numbers.

Kenny Anderson commands a humble stage presence that far belies his short stature and scruffy, weather-worn appearance. Beaming with gratitude and bright eyes at his audience as he steps onstage, a hushed intimacy covers the room and seems to gather everyone closer to him as we smile back.

Better known by his stage name, King Creosote has every reason to be smiling. Earlier in June he completed the much anticipated ‘From Scotland With Love’; the soundtrack to a heartfelt documentary film about the lives of ordinary Scottish people and industry at the turn of the 20th century, made to mark Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games. And yes, “it’s doing quite well, thanks!” he chuckles modestly to the audiences whoops of appreciation.

Songs from the soundtrack take prevalence in tonight’s set, the opener to which is ‘Something to Believe In’. It’s an incredibly powerful, moving ballad which pulls at the heartstrings and hope dawns upon the billowing notes of the cello. Followed by ‘Cargill’, a song inspired by Scottish fisher wives counting the returning fleet, the whole sound is strongly evocative of his native land and I’m struck with a synaesthetic scent of the sea spray and a wistful urge to go running barefoot through heather and bracken, although perhaps that’s a bit cliché and I’ve been watching the wrong films. King Creosote possesses one of the most distinct voices of any contemporary songwriter and it’s an absolute pleasure to hear his pitch perfect delivery, like a seagull on the breeze, lilting and cutting and soaring from note to note.

Flanked by two fellow musicians on cello and djembe, with himself on guitar/accordion, KC and his band appear to be threaded together with an invisible string, as if each movement or thought is responded to as it is felt by each other. There is an obvious trust and familiarity between them, which makes watching the sensitive performance all the more engaging.

He’s on top form tonight; his snippets of tales and audience banter between songs are welcome grounding after the heightened emotions of the more elegiac numbers. The set flows well, picking up the pace for more upbeat songs such as new single ‘For One Night Only’ and enticing choral harmonies from the audience during ‘Rise’. We dive dark around the middle of the set with the heartbreaking ode that is ‘Carry On Dancing’, before heading into more comforting, familiar territory with uplifting favourites like ‘On Esther’s Planet’, which sets knees bobbing again and ensures that the audience aren’t left completely stricken on a Monday night. I must also mention a sweet rendition of Nena’s ’99 Red Balloons’, complete with hand gestures which made us laugh like children watching a funny uncle.

So, where will this tidal wave of success carry KC to next? Well, with a BAFTA nomination waiting to be announced in November and more shows announced for January (including Motion, Bristol), I anticipate an exciting end to a productive year. Best keep your ears to the ground…

Whet your appetite with the official video for ‘Something To Believe In’, here: