King Creosote at the Barbican
A richly layered evening of electro-inspired Scottish folk music graced the Barbican stage last night in the form of Kenny Anderson, aka King Creosote, and his vibrant eight-piece acoustic band. Anderson’s career has certainly proved to be prolific: this show kicked off a small UK tour promoting his 46th full-length release, Astronaut Meets Appleman.
The drowsy Celtic wonderland of You Just Want painted the scenery for what was to come. Love Life picked up a more pop-like groove with impeccable harmonies from Anderson’s female group members.
His live arrangements stood strong as organically created electro-folk soundscapes. A medley starting with Faux Call and ending with the misty Rules of Engagement saw KC jigging along between his crew of highly competent musos as they filled the hall with psychedelic tones and gorgeous string arrangements by cellist Peter Harvey, disguised in a white wig after having played with the ethereal opening act, Modern Studies.
Watching Anderson play and dance alongside his band (and the audience) was like seeing an eager young boy basking in the glory of his creation. Although the other musicians stayed quiet and let the frontman do the talking, there was a spirit of camaraderie on stage. When the accordion player picked up her bagpipes instead, chills ran down spines as the instrument’s windy wailing mixed seamlessly with the violin’s keening tones in Melin Wynt.
The Scottish singer-songwriter sprinkled loveable witticisms throughout the show. Instead of “faffing about with encores”, he and the band lay down to hide after the “last” tune, Surface, only to rise up and play for 30 minutes more – this time doing covers and material from previous albums.
Anderson welcomed Lomond Campbell to centre mic to perform The Lengths as one of his “stunt doubles” (he stated the other two as being Badly Drawn Boy and, hilariously, Baldrick from Blackadder). A healthy dose of self-deprecation really helped to create the intimate atmosphere that is crucial to Celtic music; the vibe was hypnotic, and, before we knew it, the frontman had picked up an accordion himself and wrapped up with the clever folky I’m a Great Believer in Threes and the melancholic Admiral featuring a lush little guitar solo.
Although they were a quiet, shy-looking ensemble, King Creosote and his band’s shimmering energy did not falter for a second. They did not need showy antics to share their unique sound with the audience – just friendly faces and a flawless performance.
For further information about King Creosote and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Love Life here: