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Friday, 1 October 2010

Gigs - I Am Kloot - Bristol Thekla

Star rating – 9/10

This gig was held in a great and unique venue – on a boat called Thekla in Bristol docks. I could have sworn it swayed but I was assured it was firmly moored – no matter. At a capacity of around 500, I Am Kloot performed what was a very intimate but very lively set. John Bramwell had a nice easy rapport with the crowd, who were obviously mostly long time Kloot devotees rather than first timers like me. Despite being full of a cold and comically forgetting the set list a couple of times at the start of the show, he quickly got into his stride, along with the excellent regular band members Andrew Hargreaves on drums and Peter Jobson on bass, and three accomplished accompanying musicians who added keyboards and a brass section.

During the long set IAK treated their adoring fans to songs from their back catalogue, and showcased their brilliant latest album ‘Sky at Night’. Beautiful songs such as Northern Skies; To the Brink; Lately; and I Still Do demonstrated that this powerful, orchestral album, produced by Guy Garvey from Elbow, translates wonderfully to a live performance.

There are several obvious recurring themes in Bramwell’s sensitive lyrics – drinking and despair; mental illness and depression; love, and the vastness of the sky. He opens his soul up to scrutiny in a brave and unusual way, and is not afraid to admit his vulnerability - and the result are some amazingly soulful lyrics given via a powerful delivery. Old favourites such as Proof (which was also given a new lease of life via The Sky at Night), Twist. Bigger Wheels, and Someone Like You were fantastic.

I Am Kloot are the essence of Manchester – they tell it like it is, are not afraid to show their emotions, and are stylish and effortlessly cool. But then I am biased. I also thought Bramwell’s quip to the Bristol crowd was great ‘We really like Bristol. We think you’re weird but we like you!’ Priceless.

There was not much time for a lengthy encore due to the 10pm curfew ( which was fine with me on a school night) – but they finished a great evening with ‘Same Clowns, Same Shoes’. I Am Kloot have been my discovery of the summer – don’t ask how I had neglected to notice these fabulous Mancunians for so long - but not any more. I am hooked on the Kloot vibe and will certainly want to repeat this exhilarating live experience with them again soon.

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