Music review: Keane, Kenwood House, London

3.00

 

All kinds of shenanigans go on in Hampstead Heath after dark, so it’s perhaps no surprise to find long-term critical whipping boys Keane performing in one of its more secluded corners.

But their show at Kenwood House’s Live By The Lake series could hardly be more wholesome. Wholesome, as a posh piano-based indie-rock band, is the cross that Keane have to bear; Noel Gallagher once famously dismissed them with the words, “Even if one of them started injecting heroin into his cock people would go ‘Yeah but your dad was a vicar, good night.’”

And yet, it is, for their overjoyed and obsessive fans, a good night, and even Noel would begrudgingly admit that Keane have some tunes. The set is heavy with songs from last year’s ‘Strangeland’, which found them aiming straight for the big-hitter ready-to-wear rock songs; ‘On The Road’ clearly channels the spirit of The Killers in Americana mode, with hints of cleaned-up and cucumber-sandwiched Springsteen.

It’s a shtick they’ve a knack for, but not always one that fits them well. The reason why Brandon Flowers could get away with a line like ‘Neon River’’s “Save your money pack your bag/We better run before we disappear” where Tom Chaplin cannot is that Brandon Flowers is a Las Vegas-born, whippet-thin hotty in feathered epaulettes, whereas Keane are… wholesome.

They’re on more convincing form on the simple Elton-sings-Radiohead piano ballad likes of ‘Nothing In My Way’ or ‘A Bad Dream’, a gently agonised track where they make their posh wimpy kid persona into something powerfully everyman: “I just feel too tired/To be fighting/Guess I'm not the fighting kind”.

Not everyone can be the fighting kind, after all, and there’s something refreshing about how little effort they make to hide what they are; after a weekend at Reading Festival watching various skinny, substanceless, tuneless young berks prance around in artfully chosen charity-shop blouses, to watch Chaplin sing his heart out in a denim shirt with a suede collar feels sort of revolutionary somehow. And if, when he tells a story about how pianist Tim Rice-Oxley got mugged for his phone in their pre-success days, only to have it handed back because it was too shit, I’m quietly praying for Jarvis Cocker to bound through the trees and invade the stage, there’s a place in this world for nice boys with nice songs. Just keep them away from the freeway.

Setlist:

'You Are Young'

'Bend And Break'

'On The Road'

'Strangers'

'Nothing In My Way'

'Silenced By The Night'

'Everybody's Changing'

'Neon River'

'A Bad Dream'

'Day Will Come'

'Spiralling'

'Is It Any Wonder?'

'Snowed Under'

'Hamburg Song'

'This Is The Last Time'

'Somewhere Only We Know'

'Bedshaped'

'Sea Fog'

'Sovereign Light Café'

'Crystal Ball'

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Feeling all at sea: Barbara's 18-year-old son came under the influence of a Canadian libertarian preacher – and she had to fight to win him back
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Living the high life: Anne Robinson enjoys some skip-surfed soup
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
Doctor Who and Missy in the Doctor Who series 8 finale

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent