I Am Kloot: Irish Centre, Leeds

The assembled throng at tonight’s I Am Kloot gig may look more like a middle-aged, Saturday afternoon football crowd, scarfed-up, greying-haired men alongside semi-bored wives, than followers of one of the most critically acclaimed acts of the last ten years. But that doesn’t mean the night will be punctuated by punch-ups and soggy hotdogs.

For frontman John Bramwell, it’s all about the music and the banter. Tonight is his opportunity to introduce new album “Let It All In” to Leeds. And, possibly because this is the Irish Centre, essentially one big Irish working men’s club in the centre of West Yorkshire, Bramwell is sounding less acoustic troubadour, more chain-smoking Gaelic bluesman. Every track the Mancunian runs through takes on a smoky bar-room charm. Whether it’s the thoughtful, contemplative, sounds of “The Same Deep Water As Me”, or the lighter new track “Masquarade”. “Absolutely beautiful,” says Bramwell as he finishes the last note of the latter. Whether he’s referring to the song, or the response the song has received from the loving, adulant crowd, we’re not sure.

It’s the older tracks that receive the most applause, particularly “Northern Lights”, despite losing some of the melodic beauty it boasts on record. It’s the newer tracks that take precedence, though, from “Some Better Day’s” sunny northern chug to the lazy, skip-along beat of “Shoeless”. Like a middle-aged Saturday afternoon football crowd, though, those present are here to stand, watch and cheer, rather than complain about the nuances of a live performance.

“Let It All In” represents I Am Kloot as the elder statesmen of Manchester bands and, having been produced by Elbow’s Guy Garvey, it should give them a nudge closer to the mainstream. They may be bigger in Manchester, but in Leeds, winning of the Irish contingent is a start. This proved to be the ideal venue for I Am Kloot. Hopefully they won’t get too big and move away to larger, less inspiring live environments.

(Pictures are from the Manchester Ritz as none where available from the Leeds show).