King Creosote & Jon Hopkins, Nottingham Glee, Tuesday January 31.
Some forty albums into his career – no mean feat, considering the first one appeared in 1998 – singer-songwriter Kenny Anderson, better known as King Creosote, has started to receive just rewards for his efforts. Diamond Mine, his collaboration with Jon Hopkins, was shortlisted for last year’s Mercury Music Prize – and as the duo revealed in a recent newspaper interview, the album came within inches of winning, being pipped at the post by PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake. Nevertheless, the critical accolades came pouring in, and healthy sales followed in their wake.
Kenny and Jon began their set with a full run-through of Diamond Mine, in its original track sequence. Conceived as “a thirty-minute piece of continuous music with no singles”, the album is a subdued, melancholy affair, in which Kenny’s plaintive singing and strumming is complemented by Jon’s delicately understated electronics. The songs address the sometimes grim realities of coastal life in Kenny’s native Fife, and this acute sense of place is amplified by an array of field recordings from the same area. The same components were reproduced on stage, in a spell-binding performance; as each song ended, our applause almost felt like an intrusion.
The intensity lifted somewhat during the remainder of the set, lightened by Kenny’s droll asides between numbers, and by the time we got to the concluding covers of Song To The Siren and The Only Living Boy In New York, a collective mood of good cheer prevailed.
Support was provided by the intriguing Dan Wilson, who performed as Withered Hand, charming us all with his obliquely witty songcraft.