I Am Kloot are a band I never seem to tire of seeing live. Thankfully, regardless of whether they have a new album to promote or not, they seem to manage several live outings each year (both as a band, and John Bramwell solo gigs), especially for those of us living in London or Manchester. The original reason for this short solo tour was to promote a re-release of John’s solo mini-album ‘You, Me And The Alarm Clock’, originally released nearly 20 years ago under the name ‘Johnny Dangerously’. Sadly a problem with the pressing meant it didn’t happen in time for the tour.
Reason or not, the small but dedicated fanbase always appreciate the chance to see them play. You always know what you are getting – great songs filled with some sort of magical emotional power, and great stories & crowd banter from John in between songs. Tonight the setlist was largely made up as he went – either selecting from a piece of paper covered in song title scribbles, or crowd requests, of which there were a lot, to the point where John had to refuse most of them and instead congratulate the requester for a good choice, and self congratulate (with tongue firmly in cheek!) for writing such a good song, before playing something completely different.
There must be a dozen or more songs that feature in every single I Am Kloot gig, and tonight was no exception. Opening with the beautiful ‘From Your Favourite Sky’ (one of my all time favourite songs), and covering much of the band’s early material – ‘Morning Rain’, ‘No Fear Of Falling’, ’86 TVs’, and the first track the band ever played together ‘Titanic’ – it was hopefully clear to those new to the band why they have had such a devoted following.
We got several previews from forthcoming album ‘The Sky At Night’, currently being finished with producers Guy Garvey and Craig Potter of Elbow (“it’s taking us a while as they’re always so f**king busy!”). It’s shaping up to be possibly their best record based on what we heard tonight – The Brink (a return to favourite song topic of ‘drinking and disater’), The Moon Is A Blind Eye, and I Still Do. Thanks to my request we also got an outing of the first song John ever wrote (which appears on the aforementioned mini-album), that will make a reappearance on the new album – ‘Black & Blue’. Check out this video of the performance.
Throw in a mix of tracks from all other albums ‘The Same Deep Water As Me’ (from I Am Kloot), ‘At The Sea’ (Play Moolah Rouge), a rare outing of ‘Strange Without You’ (Gods And Monsters), and a few rarities, including a beautiful cover of The Beatles’ ‘Blackbird’, and stunning set closer ‘Proof’, and you have a wonderfully shambolic, but somehow perfect gig.