Star rating 9/10
A field full of families with children happily playing is not the usual setting for I Am Kloot, but as headliners for this year’s excellent Deer Shed festival in North Yorkshire, that is exactly where John Bramwell and the boys were last night - and a great time was had by one and all.
The set saw the Kloot on top form, with JB in very good spirits and in talkative mood, after a surprise talk over intro by astronomer godfather Patrick Moore, whom Pete had apparently persuaded to take part. Needless to say, as befits a performance under a beautifully clear northern sky, they played nearly every track from their excellent last album. Bramwell fittingly paid a tribute to Amy Winehouse, who so tragically died that afternoon, by saying that although she was a bit of a ‘rum character’, she was a great singer and songwriter. Here’s to rum characters I say – they make the world all the brighter for being so. And John should know.
The performance was not really any different to their usual live brilliance, except JB asked the adults to cover the kids’ ears before playing ’86 TVs’, and his introduction to the song was a little more short on explanation than I have previously heard him give as to the subject matter, as a concession to the young audience! As well as their latest gems, they played many old favourites including From Your Favourite Sky, Ferris Wheels, Twist, and Storm Warning.
More of the Kloot songs are about drinking, disaster, relationships, and the weather than anything else, and why not, but they did play ‘Gods and Monsters’ whose lyrics are particularly relevant in the wake of Hackgate and the whirlpool surrounding our media, police and politicians at the moment. (Someone indeed has got to pay for all these televisions!)
There were a couple of beautiful solo acoustic numbers from JB mid set, and an endearing rendition of ‘Proof’ which took a couple of attempts to perfect. An encore of ‘Same Shoes’ and the anthemic ‘I Believe’ and the Kloot were off, or at least off to the bar. It was a great atmosphere, with a lot of IAK devotees, along with hopefully some new converts, and definitely a lot of tired little ones by the end of the set. Good on IAK for camping at Deer Shed with everyone else – JB asked people to try to get their kids not to wake him up too early in the morning - not sure if that was successful. But their headline appearance certainly was.
And a few comments on the Deer Shed festival itself – as someone who hasn’t camped or been to a festival since Glastonbury in ’84 – this was great. Great food, great location, very safe and family friendly, and very well organised. A lovely acoustic set from up and coming Leeds folk troubadour Sam Airey rounded things off very nicely on the Sunday. And my top tip for next year – avoid the chemical toilets and head straight for the eco friendly ones – enough said.