It’s kind of like a homecoming for me, going to gigs in Northampton, having spent the first ten years of my life in the county’s market town of Wellingborough. My early years being formulated on a council estate in the seventies, I feel rather at home with the football terrace anthem-like chants emanating from tonight’s revellers, as soon as Miles Kane takes the stage, and they are amongst the most vocal – and indeed uninhibited – gig goers I have witnessed in all my years of attending live shows. Crucially though, there is also an air of love and jubilation and despite all the over-eager would-be moshers pushing their way to the front, everybody remains polite and friendly, which is a bonus.
Before Miles lights up the room though, support arrived in the shape of Brighton’s Fur, who, if I’m totally honest, were about half as exciting as a trip around the block to the postbox, and then looked half as pleased as that to be there at all. Support was meant to be The Mysterines but for some reason or another, this band had replaced them. I mean, they were pleasant enough, granted, but I felt like I should be doing the hoovering or something, while they played in the background. When they harked back to the fifties and the doo-wop style meanderings, they had a little more about them (one track reminded me a little of ‘Philomena‘ by The Decemberists), but frankly it was mostly pretty unmemorable; however, I would acknowledge that they are good musicians with potential, if only they could inject a little more ‘oomph’ into proceedings.
Luckily for us though, Mr Kane was on top form, getting some real crowd pleasers out of the way early in the shape of ‘Counting Down The Days‘ and the formidable ‘Inhaler‘, though unlike an IDLES gig, where anything goes age-wise, I didn’t bother joining the moshpit here – a bloke in his late forties jumping all over a bunch of fresh faced twentysomethings would not have been a pretty sight, and pretty questionable to boot!
The most pleasing aspect of the night was that, if pushed, I would say all of the highlights of the evening came courtesy of the three rather punkier-edged ‘new’ songs showcased, in particular the title track of Kane’s forthcoming new album Coup De Grace, which is somewhat reminiscent of 999‘s brilliant 1981 sidestep ‘Obsessed‘.
The truth is though, Miles Kane is a showman, and while he may not yet have quite developed the onstage patter of elder statesmen like Johnny Marr or even his Last Shadow Puppets sparring partner Alex Turner, he does seem to hold an admirable command over his audience, even when technical glitches hinder him briefly, after which he and his band proceed to up their game still further for the remaining songs in the set, which culminates with the wonderfully rousing call and response of ‘Come Closer‘.
As we left the venue, I noticed that The Roadmender had no less than three security cameras focused on the crowds in the venue, which could go some way to explaining the friendly atmosphere. But what I noticed more was the amount of beaming faces, all knowing that they’d just witnessed one of the great modern day performers at the peak of his powers.
PHOTO CREDITS: Paul Reno.