Miles Kane shares the same musical DNA as the Gallaghers with his no nonsense retro inflected rock ‘n roll. This mutual appreciation society as led to Noel turning up to do some backing vocals on his first album, The Colour Of The Trap and Liam offering a support slot on the Beady Eye tour. Celebrity patronage, model girlfriends and cool haircuts ensued.
Tonight, such rock ‘n roll credentials have garnered the attention of the police as a van is surprisingly parked outside the Concorde in readiness for the potential for knuckle draggers. Sure enough the packed venue has more than a whiff of testosterone and there is no queue for the ladies toilets. The beery crowd attempt to coax a tardy Kane from the comfort of his dressing room with some terrace chanting.
“My-Yalls, My-Yalls, My-Yalls”
Fashion is funny thing and although Miles is something of a style icon his penchant for drainpipes, mop-top and brightly coloured roll-necks bear more than a passing resemblance to The Big Bang Theory’s Howard Wolowitz.
When he finally appears, he seems to have toned down his Mod look with a short back and sides (he must have done a 2-for-1 deal with Leighton Baines) and a comparatively sombre patterned shirt.
Miles emerges all guns blazing and sets the tone for the rest of the set. He will play loud and hard. Inhaler is an explosive start and its repeated retro riffage drills into your brain. Counting Down The Days has an epic chorus that Kasabian would be proud of and sounds a lot more beefy than on record.
The minor chords, clattering drums and Doorsy vibe of Kingcrawler gets the crowd into a frenzy and a mosh-pit develops at the front of the stage accompanied by a shower of beer. My favourite track from new album Don’t Forget Who You Are is the punchy 60’s beat pop of Better Than That with it’s back beat and buoyant Taxman riff. The call and response chorus is fabulous and shows what he is capable of when he puts his mind to it.
Unfortunately, not all tracks are of such a high standard. A few are pretty pedestrian and stomp along in search of a tune. The glam-rock strut of You’re Gonna Get It tries hard but crashes on the musical shoreline in a blizzard of strobe lights and Little Illusion Machine (Wirral Riddler), an Arctic Monkeys B-side, is pretty dreary as is My Fantasy which only comes alive in the final few bars.
Kane could do well taking a few pointers from best pal Alex Turner whose song writing is in a different league at the moment. The peppy psychedelic pop of Taking Over is an improvement and really gets going during the driving middle eight. It is reminiscent of Paul Weller’s forays into blue eyed Northern soul. During the dirty rock of Give Up Miles segues into Sympathy For Devil and whilst he doesn’t have Keith Richards’ loose funk the song is a welcome example of how rock ‘n roll can simultaneously be edgy and melodic.
To credit Kane he has the bulk of the audience eating out of the palm of his hand with his proto-Gallagher swagger but I find the “Let's f*cking have it!” shtick gratiing as the gig wears on. Personal preferences aside his energy is to be admired and here he cajoles the crowd into singing the song’s extended refrain
“You’re pretty good looking but I’m looking for a way out”
Despite the competent playing, the enthusiasm and the amps turned up to 11 I’m left feeling short-changed. Miles seems capable of more than simply appealing to the lowest common denominator but perhaps he is canny enough just to give this crowd what they want: no frills rock ‘n roll escapism.
For the encore we get a welcome change of tone with the acoustic The Colour Of The Trap which he dedicates to
"…all the ladies"
It sounds like something Buddy Holly might have recorded and reflects the more nuanced work he did with Turner on The Last Shadow Puppets album. Kane rounds off the night with Don’t Forget Who You Are and we are back in T-Rex territory with its driving chorus and the crowd friendly “Na Na Na’s”. The songs refrain continues to be chanted long after the band leave the stage, I head off into the night and the police start to warm up their truncheons.