I Am Kloot – Nottingham Rescue Rooms, Tuesday October 5.
Nottingham’s gig-goers were spoilt for choice last night, as three bands with strong live reputations vied for our ticket money. Like punters caught between competing stages at a festival, we were forced to choose between the cheery folk-rock of Mumford And Sons at Rock City, The Twilight Sad’s blistering angst at Stealth – or the Mercury nominated Mancunian three-piece I Am Kloot at the Rescue Rooms, now touring their fifth, and biggest selling, studio album.
Any worries that this conflict might have depleted the audience numbers were swiftly replaced by other concerns. A shoulder-to-shoulder capacity crowd, some of them caught out by the early show time, strained to catch a glimpse of the three players and their two occasional accompanists.
In such cramped circumstances, it can take a supreme effort of will to zone out from your surroundings and home in on the music. Mercifully, the sheer quality of I Am Kloot’s performance made the task an easy one. Band leader John Bramwell’s crystal clear diction soared above the exquisitely judged playing and the superb sound mix, drawing you into his world of bruised romance, beer-soaked regret and battered optimism.
“A lot of these songs are written about the night”, he informed us. “I’m not sure why”, he added. “Perhaps we could break up into small groups later and discuss it?”
The metaphysical poetry of The Moon Is A Blind Eye (“The sun may glorify the heavens, but he never sees the stars”) was a case in point, while the skeletally arranged I Still Do showcased Bramwell’s interpretive skills to astonishing effect, every repetition of the title line drawing out new meanings.
Elbow’s Guy Garvey and Craig Potter produced the current album (Sky At Night), and the close affinity between the two bands was unmistakeable. And with the anthemic and uncharacteristically triumphant Radiation (“Everything we ever thought we’d ever want, me and you, well it just came through, it just came true”), I Am Kloot even have their own One Day Like This.
The hundred minute set concluded with Same Shoes (“Over and out, is it screwed?”), which pitted deep, sleazy cabaret sax against a higher, sweeter supper-club trumpet. It provided a wonderfully downbeat conclusion to a stunning show from a band who, eleven years down the line, are now operating at the peak of their powers.