I AM KLOOT- Manchesterís Night And Day Café 03/06/00.
There are two myths about Manchester, which persist. Firstly, it never stops raining. Secondly, gangs of scallies roam the streets in search of mischief. Tonight, it never stopped raining and my car was stolen. Still, a little rain never hurt anyone and I could do with the exercise.
If the British music press are to be believed, Manchesterís northern star is once again in the ascendancy. The rise of a group of local acoustic based bands has garnered enough column inches to warrant talk of a genuine scene emerging. Certainly venues like Night And Day and across town The Blue Cat Café are giving new songwriters a chance to air their pastoral wears in public. While certain elements of the British music industry are desperate to breath life back into a stagnant music scene, talk of a new scene could be premature. I AM KLOOT lead singer Johnny Bramwell has already made his position clear on the subject in the local press and reiterates the point tonight. ĎThere is no scene!Ē, he exclaims.
I was here primarily to see I AM KLOOT but tonight was also a showcase for acts on the new We Love YouÖSo Love Us compilation. This made the gig feel like a real event. As a prelude to the main attraction, we were treated to a fine set by American singer-songwriter Shawn Lee. An attentive crowd seemed to appreciate his efforts.
There was a palpable air of excitement in the crowd as I AM KLOOT took the stage. Friends and family aside, it was noticeable how much genuine warmth and good will was directed towards Johnny Bramwell. More commonly known in these parts as Johnny Dangerously, Johnny has been on the periphery of the music scene in Manchester for nearly twenty years. In the early 1980s he fronted The Face Brothers and more recently The Mouth; all without any great success. But that could all change very soon. With just over twelve months experience under their collective belts, there is still something shambolic about the band's performance. This is not a criticism, itís a compliment. I am sick of seeing new bands with a smug look of accomplishment on their faces. These bands are playing to a crowd of A.R. men, not us.
Peter Jobson on bass and Andy Hargreaves on drums provide a solid back bone to Johnnyís songs of bliss and despair. Prone to bouts of self-deprecation, Johnny balances the scales with biting verbal attacks. Iím reminded of The LAíS in their pomp and Billy Bragg in his most heartbreaking moments. Eschewing the pose of the moody, aloof rock star, Johnny is not afraid to make a fool of himself. The crowd are more than happy to indulge his more comedic moments. At one point he auctions the engineerís shoes!
I was a little disappointed that the set was cut
short by a lack of material. The band were profuse in their apologies and
assured us that a whole albumís worth of new stuff would be written by
September. I AM KLOOT are not the finished article just yet, but Iím confident
that, if the next batch of songs can rival the current set, ant rough edges
can be smoothed out.
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