Miles Kane – Middlesbrough Empire, October 13th

This is a tad late as I foolishly spent my entire weekend at an all-nighter at the Tyneside cinema and the proceeding days catching up on sleep. Needless to say I’ll never do that again! But enough of my waffling …

Preparing for this gig may have put me off ordering from See tickets for life, not just for their extortionate fees but the ineptitude displayed when they dispatched the tickets the day before the gig. After trailing around the general Sunderland area I managed to locate them and off I trekked to Middlesbrough. I’d never normally travel this much for a gig, but after witnessing Kane live earlier this year this was an opportunity not to be missed.

Making good time depsite earlier delays, we managed to get chance to have a couple of drinks in a terribly dodgy looking Austrailian bar chain. I haven’t lost my mind no, it was redeemed by not only blasting Still Life as we walked in and coupling it with live cricket, I was hesitant to move.

A short stumble down the street led us to the stunning Empire, and to a crowd of underage 60s dollybirds ready top flutter their eyelashes at the main man of the night. While the support band Folks were interesting (read boring and instantly forgettable) and almost akin to Beady Eye in the demanding songwriting department, I think they were summed up by the nicest compliment I could possibly give: ‘the lead singer looks a lot like Alexa Chung’.

For the first night of what is probably a sold out tour, Kane was eager to show what an artist he had become. Entering to a lightshow one would expect of Muse and not a lowly indie upstart, Miles sped through the album, peacock strutting better than the Modfather himself. Highlights included the obvious crowd favourite (and recent single) Come Closer, the delightfully singable Quicksand and surprisingly Happenstance, having been transformed from a breathy number to a full on sexual monster.

Clearly lapping up the onstage attention, its hard to imagine Kane doing anything else. While the albums credits may read Kane/Turner, its difficult to imagine turner up here playing the same songs and getting the same reaction. To borrow a word from Miles, he was visibly ‘buzzing’ (yuck). His almost obligatory Hey Bulldog cover sits alongside his own music beautifully, as does his English translation of Jaques Dutronic’s Le Responsible. Treating the clearly excitable crowd to new track Womans Touch, yet another pop gem rather than the ill-advised Calamity Jane cover I had hoped for, there is no stopping this beast.

Playing the waiting game with the audience for one last track, Kane and his band of merry men returned to destroy the Empire with the unadulterated rock and roll of Inhaler. The baying crowd catterwauled every note back to a visibly moved full band, who managed to eek every note possible to milk moments like these dry. While the intimate feel of the venue may have added the the intansity of the gig, I can’t imagine Miles Kane sticking around these places for much longer. He’s made for bigger and better things.


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