King Creosote at the Cambridge Corn Exchange – Live Review

live reviews "journeying into the experimental yet keeping a hold of the heart"

All hail King Creosote sing the music press. Quite rightly, Creosote is a joy to follow, moving easily between genres as wide ranging as Scottish folk and electronica. With each new project Creosote strives for something more, something different. Yet he never forgets his greatest strength, the melancholy that imbues his work with such delicate emotion. It is this that keeps keeps his core audience returning and brought a healthy crowd to the Corn Exchange late January. His most recent album ‘Astronaught Meets Appleman’ is one of his most open records to date and Creosote’s desire to do justice to its rich sound is evident as the band arrived eight strong. They slowly built layers and layers to opening number ‘You Just Want’. All the while King Creosote watched on looking extremely comfortable in his surroundings. At times Creosote took on the role of conductor slowly encouraging his band members to build up and up. The slowly intensifying double bass and electric guitar provided a real sense of urgency accentuated by the female backing vocals. Subtly King Creosote’s voice slipped into the fabric of the song. To hear Creosote sing in the key of Fife is such an emotive experience and his beautiful Scottish lilt provides a delicate beauty throughout the night.

Between tracks Creosote was extremely easy to listen to. He made light of how the band will be playing the entire album, how he longs for Scarlett Johansson and speaks well of Cambridge and landmarks such as Relevant Records. Perhaps the highlight of his between song patter was when he asked whether any audience members could dance. When a woman in the crowd said she could Creosote took her by the hand and led her to the stage. They waltzed to the slow emotive sounds of ‘Faux Call’ and though it could have been disastrous it was actually rather touching. From the set ‘Peter Rabbit Tea’ was a real highlight. Bringing a tape recorder on stage Creosote cyclically played and then rewound a recording of his daughter sweetly repeating ‘Peter Rabbit Tea’ over and over and over again. The band weaved between the child, all the while Creosote stood still and silent in the middle of the stage. It was a moment of quiet reflection and a poignant piece. A perfect example of what Creosote does best, journeying into the experimental yet keeping a hold of the heart.

Late in the evening as I scanned across the crowd I saw couples slowly putting their arms around each other, softly embracing and appreciating the moment. King Creosote had brought them together. What a gift. He even found a clever way of getting around the tedium of encores. Laughing at the predictability of it all the band had some fun, hiding behind their instruments in clear view of the crowd. Occasionally they would peek out to an audience in on the joke before slowly emerging to play an encore where emotions ranged between the melancholic and the euphoric. It was a fitting end and as the lights switched on I noticed every face looked thankful to have spent a night in the court of King Creosote.

Words from Alex Coles

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