King Creosote and John Hokins (Leeds City Varieties, 9 February 2012)


Leeds City Varieties is a lovely venue for gigs like this: large enough to get a good atmosphere, small enough to allow an intimate atmosphere ideal for thoughtful, gentle music.

The warm-up act, Withered Hand, a solo act aka Dan Willson, got us off to a low-key start. His reedy voice, wry and sad lyrics and pretty tunes (apparently, he was described as a “melodic wimp” by Rolling Stone) were helped along by a self-deprecating humour in his inter-song chat. And, unusually for a support act, the CD I bought at the gig was possibly better than the live performance, reminding me (in a good way) of Neil Young at times.

The main act started off by performing the album, Diamond Mine, in its entirety and with Kenny Anderson offering no interruption at all between songs. King Creosote is normally a one-man act, Anderson on vocals and guitar, but for his last album, and here, he is joined by Hopkins on keyboards, harmonium (I think) and occasional recorded sounds and other effects, necessary to reproduce the album but not reproducable live otherwise. I was starting to think Anderson was a bit of a grouch and I might be in for another ‘Fleet Foxes’ event but, once the album was done, Anderson became much more chatty and the effects tapes were ditched for a more basic approach. I’ve heard that King Creosote has a prodigious output and that the quality threshold is variable but the songs here were all good enough for me to invest in one or two more albums, to investigate his back catalogue.


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