King Creosote with Kid Canaveral and Amy McDougall at the Ironworks, Inverness on the 29th of October 2011.
Tonight’s gig at the Ironworks was somewhat unusual in many respects. With the very different King Creosote and Kid Canaveral billed equally, I was curious as to how everything was going to piece together. The answer? Very well indeed.
Dispensing with the tried-and-tested route of getting a newer, up-and-coming band to open for your show, King Creosote took matters into his own hands, quietly taking position with his accordion and – after fumbling with the “bra strap” – kicked things off himself. Effortlessly he captured the attention of the audience with his melancholy voice and wistful lyrics.
A few songs later and he introduces Amy MacDougall to the stage. A backing singer she isn’t; indeed the next few songs are her own. Her soft, almost (dare I say it?) sultry voice and the very subtle but creative use of the loop-pedal leads me to think she really should have been advertised on this tour – I do believe I’ll be bragging to friends about seeing her well before the success that will inevitably come her way, in the same way people talk about KT Tunstall’s breakthrough on Later… with Jools Holland.
Kid Canaveral were next up on stage after a brief break to set up, starting out with a somewhat uncharacteristic slower number. Normal service resumed afterwards though, with frontman David MacGregor assuring everyone that it would be much louder from now on. The singer/guitarist was on top form, providing an energetic performance during the tracks and, with a razor-sharp wit, dealing with hecklers between them: “That’s one-louder than a joke, mate”, after someone shouted that they should turn it up to twelve.
More collaborations followed, although if I’m honest I wasn’t particularly excited by them. King Creosote seemed a little like a spare part performing the Canaveral’s repertoire, whilst on the other hand it didn’t seem like Kid Canaveral added much more than what a few session musicians would have done with King Creosote’s back-catalogue. Perhaps it is my lack of familiarity with either artist’s music – the venue though was still very busy, and had remained as such all night, making it clear to me that everybody was enjoying the music.
The last two songs of the night could be considered the encore. While King Creosote dismissed the idea as a “formality”, it may have had more to do with the Hallowe’en club night due to kick off shortly after the gig’s finishing time. Nevertheless, everybody got invited back on stage for those final songs, “John Taylor’s Month Away” and of course, “Not One Bit Ashamed”.
You’ve probably gathered by now that this wasn’t the typical gig. To me, it seemed more like the Mercury nominee was giving two rising Scottish talents a platform on which to shine. In this day and age, it seems people aren’t prepared to spend money to go out and see a band they’ve never heard of; many more don’t even bother turning up to see the support acts. King Creosote, on the other hand, has essentially forced the ticket-holders into seeing two other top-notch artists as well, and judging by the reaction both Kid Canaveral and Amy MacDougall received it has certainly worked in their favour.
Written by Thomas Bisset
Photos by Thomas Bisset Photography