I Am Kloot provide Northern wonders which match the stuff of legend, Getintothis’ Alan O’Hare salutes songwriters at the very top of their game.
The North of England really is a wondrous place.
The geography of the region flows through the minds of our artists and alters the colours of their thoughts forever.
John Bramwell, leader of Manchester’s I Am Kloot, is one such artist and a stunningly original singer and songwriter. His band – now augmented to a five-piece live, to include extra guitar, keyboards, accordion and trumpet – cajole an irresistible sound from their instruments, dominated by the kind of melancholy that can only arrive from the very edge of the Pennines.
Bramwell’s performance last Saturday night, at a busy-enough big room in the O2 Academy, put Getintothis in mind of two Scouse song smiths who are revered locally: Lee Mavers and Michael Head. It may not be right to draw comparisons between artists, but its part of a wider point here.
While some may argue that Bramwell will never create anything as beautiful as, say, The Magical World of The Strands, or something as perfectly popular as There She Goes by The La’s, it is hard to disagree that the body of work in Bramwell’s rear view mirror, stands up to anything any said fellow Northern sons have released.
The point? An artist needs to work.
So it was then, that I Am Kloot arrived in town to promote their latest record, the slow-burning Let It All In, with another fantastic set of songs. Let Them All In, Some Better Day and Hold Back The Night were all highlights, delivered by a band on the top of their game and a singer in fantastic voice.
I Am Kloot’s John Bramwell at the O2 Academy, Liverpool
Bramwell’s singing really was special. He’s developed that gruff Northern delivery, into a version of Sinatra – if Frank had been born in Salford. It was the type of performance, say, Ian McCulloch could only talk about these days and the Scousers on Hotham Street ate it up.
This was no nostalgia trip or Saturday night out. I Am Kloot delivered and the gig was as vital as they come: emotional high spots like Proof and the classic Twisted saw to that, as Bramwell’s mini-symphonies gave his sinister stories an almost smouldering edge. It was a grand evening.
Football may have salted the taste of Manchester and Liverpool into a tale of two cities – but, when it comes to music being made by grown-up Northern troubadours today, our rivals at the other end of the canal leave us standing.
And John Bramwell is standing at the top of his league.
Photography by Getintothis John Johnson