King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - O2 ABC, Glasgow, Thu 26 Jan 2012
Duo's expanded line-up works well in large venue - once everyone relaxes
The few gentle piano chords and overheard Fife chit-chat that form the start of ‘First Watch,’ the opener on King Creosote and Jon Hopkins’ Diamond Mine, are all it takes to bring a sold out crowd to what is, for this venue in particular, an uncannily silent state. Unfortunately, it’s a different kind of fan noise that somewhat spoils the moment, as the ABC’s air conditioning works overtime to circulate the aroma of a thousand woolly jumpers and nearly as many beards.
Continuing a full run-through of their Mercury-nominated album, the pair, together with a band of two fiddlers, a drummer and surprise backing vocalist KT Tunstall, move on to an incredibly fragile rendition of ‘John Taylor’s Month Away’, with KT providing a lush undercurrent to KC’s plaintive falsetto. Anderson surprises, though, with a more full-throated sound on ‘Bats in the Attic’, noticeably stepping up to the challenge of filling what must be one of the biggest spaces the duo have played to date.
While the performances of the songs from Diamond Mine are executed with virtuosity and feeling by all involved, there’s something about the first half of the show that feels ever so slightly uptight, almost as if the pressure of all the magic attributed to that record weighs heavily on the performance. But then, six songs in, the others leave the stage, and the pair's heartfelt version of ‘Your Young Voice’ provides the first true spine-tingler of the night.
After that it feels like everyone relaxes, the rest of the band return and Anderson is on top form with a mixture of older and newer selections from his formidable back catalogue, chat about the shocking length of Paul Simon’s earlobes, and a cover of ‘The Only Living Boy in New York’, finishing eventually on another simple but heartbreakingly tender stunner, ‘My Favourite Girl’.