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Review: Miles Kane @ O2 Academy

The Indie legend's latest gig was so good that just one review isn't enough. Epigram Music offers two recounts with photography by Angela Ugarte.

By Epigram Music

The Indie legend's latest gig was so good that just one review isn't enough. Epigram Music offers two recounts with photography by Angela Ugarte.

By Angela Ugarte, Third Year Liberal Arts

I went to see Miles Kane expecting to see a rock concert, not a piece of theatre with numerous backbends.

Miles Kane is a person of details. His stage set up only confirms this with tiny, elevated areas for his fellow band members and a backdrop of mirrors. The band comes on in a single file line, determined and strong footed. They start with a classic — ‘Don’t Let It Get You Down’. Of course. Kane is a very classy man. He comes on wearing a navy blue suit with a pair of brown leather shoes that match his guitar. Beneath he fashions a white tank top, merch from opening act Brooke Combe, and arm band just beneath his left shoulder. It’s giving proud-cool-indie Uncle that visits rarely because he’s too busy with his band and abstract woodworking projects.

Credit: Angela Ugarte

He commands the stage very well. Between nimble hip movements and some voracious backbends, he really is not hiding anything for later. The crowd loves it, begs for it.

‘BRISTOL, BRISTOL, CHECK IT’ Kane shouts between songs. He is not here to chat, he’s on a tight schedule to give us the most intense and vibrant show every second for the next few the transition we get into ‘Nothing’s Ever Gonna Be Good Enough’. It’s a commendable skill to be able to make a song about the futility of love and one’s short comings into a toe-tapping indie pop song.

By now I’ve lost count of how many backbends Kane has done, and his theatricality is breathing life into every song. Kane’ hips sway to his own strumming constantly. I wish I had this much endurance.

Credit: Angela Ugarte

The band plays a cover of The Beatles’ ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ introduced with a smooth piano solo from, multi-instrumentalist João, followed by a Western film twang from the guitars. We see a different side of Kane here; he’s gone from cool uncle to hip swaying cowboy in love. Tossing the mic stand to the side, Kane is roaming and groaning. He wraps the cable around himself and sings ‘I guess nobody ever really done me / Oh she done me, / She done me good’. I’ve never seen a performance as embodied as this, Kane relishes in each and every lyric he sings. Someone in the crowd yee-haws! What a time.

Finally, we see the mirrors at their best. Kane hops onto the small platform behind him to serenade his own band members, turning his back on us momentarily. Thanks to the mirrors though we can peek at this purely happy interaction. When he turns back around, he gives us the biggest smile, nodding to the beautiful moment he’s created for us and himself just then. I can’t stop giggling; this man is such a charm.

Credit: Angela Ugarte

By Milan Perera, Second Year English Literature and Community Engagement

Like the famous melody-makers of Merseyside, he is gifted with a nonchalant swagger coupled with a magnetic stage presence. He is arguably one of the finest frontmen in the indie rock scene along with Liam Gallagher and Alex Turner. He has perfected his craft with his relentless approach to music, where each album is proved to be a cornucopia of delights: various genres from classic rock ‘n’ roll to indie rock with lashings of jazz and blues thrown in.

The headline act was preceded by two rising stars in the music scene, Eli Smart and Brooke Coombe. Eli Smart who is a native of Hawaii did the unthinkable: switching the sun drenched shores of Hawaii to the sullen skies of Liverpool. With his dashing looks and dazzling virtuosity on guitar and vocals, Smart led the proceedings for the evening to a rollicking start. Those who were busy chatting and drinking beer at the bar area turned their heads to check this nonchalant phenomenon who was radiating a great measure of chutzpah.

Credit: Angela Ugarte

Smart was followed by award-winning Scottish singer-songwriter Brooke Combe, held in great esteem by the music fraternity for her poignant lyrics and heartfelt singing. Combe’s rendition of the 70s disco hit ‘Yes Sir, I Can Boogie’ sent the cyberspace in to a delirium and made her a household name among the netizens. The stripped-back version not only demonstrated Combe’s capacious artistic vision but also her consummate skills as a performer. There is an unmistakable vibe of the great soul queens of yesteryear such as Amy Winehouse, Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin. Her soulful rendition of ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’ by Arctic Monkeys made a neat segue to the headline act as Miles Kane has been a longtime friend and collaborator of  Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys.

Miles Kane walked onto the stage amidst riotous applause from the full house audience. What followed was an exhilarating spectacle of pomp and circumstances that captured the visceral energy of indie rock and sublimated it to a mercurial finish. I still try to remember the gentle chill that ran down my spine when the ensemble burst into the titular track of Kane’s third studio album, ‘Coup De Grace’.

Credit: Angela Ugarte

A considerable portion of the setlist was dedicated to the tracks from his latest album such as ‘Don’t Let It Get You Down’, ‘Nothing’s Ever Gonna Be Good Enough’, ‘Caroline’, and ‘Change the Show.’ It also included belt-out numbers from previous albums which went down well with the euphoric crowds. The Liverpool-born musician paid homage to the greatest music import of Merseyside, the Beatles with a high-octane rendition of ‘Don’t Let Me Down’.

The rapport between the packed O2 Academy and Kane was immediate and spontaneous. They got on like a house on fire. When Kane declared his love for the audience while swigging a sip of larger, ‘Bristol! I f***ing love ya!’, the audience responded with the roaring chant, ‘ Miles, Miles, Miles f***ing Kane!’. What an enthralling night for all those who were at the O2 Academy.

Featured image: Angela Ugarte

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