King Creosote, Charlie Cunningham: The Epstein Theatre, Liverpool

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King Creosote

King Creosote brings new record From Scotland With Love to Liverpool, GetintothisAlan O’Hare finds much to cherish.

There’s nowt as queer as folk.

Every guitar slinger with a beard and a waistcoat will describe themselves, their harp player or their MacBook assistant as “a bit folky’” these days. It’s the thing to say. But folk music is something else entirely. It’s the music of the people – sung by them, for them and about them.

Kenny Anderson is a folk singer and his latest King Creosote album, the heartstring-tugging From Scotland With Love, is a proper folk album. He opens his gig at The Epstein Theatre (very much improving in sound and atmosphere by the gig) with a handful of songs from it and right away we’re struck by the integrity of them. One person’s woolly jumper might be another’s hipster chic, but there is no denying that these laments (Cargill), broadsides (For One Night Only) and ballads (Something To Believe In) are cut from age old cloth.

The songs explore themes focused on in the film. But these sounds don’t miss the pictures – no matter how self-depreciating Anderson appears (“We just used what songs we had left”), he delivers them safe in the knowledge that this record – and previous Domino release, the Jon Hopkins-collaboration Diamond Mine – has seen him critically and commercially turn the heat up.

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A packed audience agrees, with a few dozen already singing along to the opening bars of new tunes. Must be a great feeling, that. Anderson is enjoying himself and, backed by djembe, cello and his own battered acoustic guitar, the songs have movement and colour.

The folk credentials are hammered home even more, when Anderson straps on an accordion to deliver some blue note drones and flesh out a couple of new songs (that next record may not sell as well!). It’s an interesting sidestep.

The gig moves into the home straight with a couple of tunes from the aforementioned – and Mercury Prize-nominated – Diamond Mine, and a rejigged John Taylor’s Month Away and Bats In The Attic are particular highlights and revealed as just great songs, bells and whistles aside.

A strange (choice, but delivered straight) cover of Nena’s 1983 hit 99 Balloons goes down a storm, before Anderson and his merry men disappear into the night looking for a fence to paint. Or something.

A working class folk hero? It’s something to be.

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Charlie Cunningham at the Epstein Theatre

Pictures by GetintothisSimon Lewis