King Creosote – The Stained Glass Centre, York, 04/04/2019 1

King Creosote – The Stained Glass Centre, York, 04/04/2019

Kenny Anderson prefers to play in small places. And tonight on the fifth date of a solo tour of intimate venues the man who is King Creosote is performing in front of 80 people in St Martin-cum-Gregory’s Church in the heart of the city of York. A Grade I listed building dating from the 11th century and which now houses the Stained Glass Centre it provides the most perfectly hallowed, albeit very cold, surroundings in which to experience what is the often hymnal texture of Anderson’s music.

A King Creosote solo show, you suspect, shares many of the central life characteristics of the man who hails from the Kingdom of Fife in Scotland. There are bags of gentle humour and plenty of self-deprecation coupled to incredible levels of productivity. He has, after all, written hundreds upon hundreds of songs and released scores of albums that have included collaborations with The Burns Unit and the ambient-electronics pioneer Jon Hopkins.

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Despite being so prolific, King Creosote speaks amusingly about taking extended periods away from his work, whiling away the hours manually sanding floorboards and dreaming of building a spiral staircase in his home. But he still has the time tonight to knock out, at a rough count, 25 songs the vast majority of which are plundered from his own extensive back catalogue but also include a couple of typically maverick covers, Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘The Only Living Boy In New York’ and Dexys’ ‘Come on Eileen’.

For such an experienced performer, King Creosote seems initially quite nervous to find himself in such a close, intimate environment; he confides that he had previously told his mother he wasn’t quite sure how to be in these situations. “Act normal”, he suggests, recognising immediately this may not be the best choice of word with which to describe himself. He uses the first couple of songs – including ‘Turps’, one of a number of tracks he plays from his 2003 album Kenny and Beth’s Musakal Boat Rides – to get what he refers to as his “sea legs”. But by the time that he has got to ‘Homeboy’ King Creosote has achieved pretty much perfect balance.

Switching from guitar to accordion (he picks up the squeeze box for the first time this evening for a beautifully mournful ‘Pauper’s Dough’, vacillating as he does on many of his songs between the emotions of hope and despair), and then much later and following a mid-show break reverting to the guitar for a sublime ‘Bats in the Attic’, King Creosote takes us on a magical musical journey. It is one that embraces elements of folk, pop and shades of his local cèilidh and features absorbing narratives that are often as playful as they are poignant. After nigh on three hours, he disappears off into the freezing night with a rousing blast of his and Jon Hopkins’ Latvian chart-topper ‘Third Swan’, bringing to a close a very special evening.

King Creosote at The Stained Glass Centre in York was brought to us by Please Please You

Photos: Simon Godley

More photos from this show are HERE

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