King Creosote - Oran Mor, Glasgow, Wed 10 Apr 2013
Fence Records stalwart's bittersweet railing over declining physical music sales
Following on from his low-key appearance on the fringes of Fence’s Gnomegame festival in Anstruther the weekend before, Kenny Anderson was playing the second date of a monstrous month-long UK solo tour here, the first coming the day before in Shetland. It would be a busy few weeks for any musician, but especially one with a crutch and a stookie who’s been laid up for the last two months with a nasty ankle break (he did it carrying wood) and who spent the entire show in his seat.
Laughing that ‘this is my second day out’, Anderson (King Creosote himself) acknowledged a slightly odd atmosphere in which he was by some turns tetchy – understandably so, if the leg had him in pain – and by others obviously thrilled to be out and before an audience to chat and joke with. Obviously annoyed by a malfunctioning mic, he also railed against people’s apparent inability to pay for music, plugging the forthcoming self-released album which he recorded in January with the statement ‘it’s cheap, you could get a cab to Central Station for what I’m charging, or a couple of pints at the bar.' There will, he says, be ‘no download codes’ involved in the sale of this all-physical product.
As a highly prolific songwriter with a real emotional range and breadth, it should perhaps come as little surprise given the circumstances that Anderson’s new songs rest upon a sense of good-natured melancholy, with ‘Impossible to Resist’ bemoaning a harsh truth to its addressee that ‘you don’t like me in the same way that you did’ and ‘Future Wives’ belying his jovial chat about trying to find one of the same in Glasgow with a real bittersweet edge. There was also a well-adapted cover of Gillian Welch’s ‘Everything is Free’, although it did suffer lyrical adaptation at the end to fit in with a recurring theme of Anderson’s (‘everything is free now – except my music’).
Amidst it all there were also some of Anderson’s finest catalogue moments, judiciously selected to suit the circumstances here (Anderson on guitar, a percussionist sitting next to him and obviously nothing that required standing up or jumping around), among them ‘So Forlorn’, the buoyant ‘On the Night of the Bonfire’ and ‘Homerun and a Vow’. He played he and Jon Hopkins’ ‘Third Swan’, introducing it as how he makes a living (a huge radio hit in Latvia, apparently) and finished the main set – although there was no way he was walking off and on again for the encore, so he mimed it – with the epically downbeat ‘Not One Bit Ashamed’.