Kele - The Arches, Glasgow, Tue 16 Nov, 2010
Hard graft rewarded with a won-over audience
After a string of successful festival dates, playing to tents full of boozed-up party-goers while idyllic summer sunsets took place outside, Kele Okereke may have thought that this solo business would be an easy ride. Back then, crowds were effusive in showing their love, letting the erstwhile Bloc Party frontman surf along comfortably on their waves of adoration. Tonight is a very different scenario: on a dreich Tuesday night in November, he has to work hard to get a hall of chilly Glaswegians on-side. Thankfully, it’s a task he takes on with relish.
The show starts off with the bass/handclap combo of ‘Walk Tall’, which seems to elicit less of a response than Kele might have hoped: a few nodding heads, with only a smattering of more enthusiastic dancers dotted about here and there. As he pours his energy into the songs, though, the audience responds in kind: the opening half of his set contains current single ‘On The Lam’ and ‘Everything You Wanted’, some of the punchiest songs on the album, and while it first it may seem foolhardy not to save some of the more bangin’ tunes for a climactic finish, it gets the crowd’s feet moving enough to keep them dancing through some of the set’s weaker moments.
A few stage chat missteps aside (why bother bringing up Katie Waissel at all?), Kele’s hard graft is rewarded with an audience that cheer as loud for his solo material as they do for the obligatory Bloc Party numbers. Tonight’s success is a much more gratifying victory for having been fought hard.