John Bramwell, gig review

Half Moon, London

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The Independent Culture

“It's been different this evening and I will certainly not forget it,” quips John Bramwell during a solo acoustic show beset with technical difficulties. Three songs into the set and the Mancunian has to abandon his guitar and enforce a drinks interval.

The I Am Kloot frontman returns with a new guitar and a rather ramshackle performance, full of wit and passion. Bramwell, along with Paul Heaton, Neil Hannon and Billy Bragg, is one of our most finest lyricists. The 49-year-old specialises in bruised, ale-stained laments that deal in sorrow, regret and (particularly) the UK climate. His generous set is ideally suited to the tempest outside.

“Is there a storm coming or are we just another shower,” sings John Bramwell, in his deliciously cracked voice, on the apt “Storm Warning”. It's a highlight tonight along with the menacing “Twist” (“There was a time when we were filled with laughter/ Haplessly hoping happy ever after/ Did we string up a heart, let it swing from the rafters/ And bleed”) and the McCartney-esque “Some Better Day” from Kloot's latest world weary album, Let It All In.

At one point Bramwell jokes that we probably miss his band. A little bit, but the singer's drollery, astringent lyrics and exquisite voice pull us through.