Miles Kane, Electric Ballroom, London
Wednesday 02 November 2011
Ostensibly it seemed like this singer-songwriter might live in Alex Turner's shadow forever. Certainly, despite garnering success as half of The Last Shadow Puppets with the Arctic Monkey's frontman, Kane was never considered the nucleus of the band, nor could his other group, The Rascals, ever emerge from the shade of the Arctic Monkeys.
Yet, with a debut album in the charts, the 25-year-old Last Shadow Puppet has finally cut his strings and is stepping into the spotlight alone.
And he's only half-an-hour late when he struts onto the stage in Camden Town, looking decidedly like Paul Weller. Guitar in hand, his coiffured hair slicked forward and his shirt buttoned to the top, he kicks off the show with the Kasabian-esque "Better Left Invisible".
An okay start, his opening gambit is hardly the mission statement it could be. But luckily the later tracks indicate Kane has more to offer than the Sixties wonderland revival his debut album (and hair) might suggest. As he moves through the hooky "Rearranged" with its eerie feedback drone, basks in the glory of the rapturous applause following the spry harmonies on "Quicksand", and struts pugnaciously to the undulating tom-tom helltones of "Kingcrawler", it becomes apparent that while this young man's musical vision resides firmly in the past, his live act is as relevant as any other artist's in the charts.
That's not to say his is the same as all the rest. Heavier in garage pop than The Last Shadow Puppets, laden with more psychedelic fills than the Arctic Monkeys, and with that crucial injection of soul that the likes of The Vaccines suffer the lack of, Kane's live music and effortless vocals have their own relevant and outright tenacious sound.
And the best moments come when he seems to realise this and relax. After the buoyant bluster of "Come Closer", with its gravelly riff-laced verses and sleazy blues guitar solo, "Inhaler" brings the highlight of the evening. As the merciless riff, stinging guitars and clattering drums recede to make room for the belligerent chorus, Kane shakes free his slicked-down hair, closes his eyes and lets his formerly pouting, puckered lips crack into a toothy smile.
Maybe the smile is a sign that he's as pleased as we are that at least his live music belongs somewhere other than a Sixties musical Tardis, or maybe he's just happy because Alex Turner is nowhere to be seen?
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