Miles Kane / Danny Mahon @ Ruby Lounge, Manchester - 12.11.10

The prize for the catchiest song of the night goes surprisingly not to headliner Miles Kane, but to tonight’s first support act; Manchester’s own Danny Mahon, for his sing-a-long rendition of ‘Twat’, complete with lyrics such as “I think Pimp My Ride is where it’s at/Cos I’m a twat”. It’s actually love at first sight for me. Danny Mahon is super indie-friendly, very northern, and very blunt, and comes with a splendid array of songs for us tonight. His direct, often dark and hilariously scathing lyrics make for a satirical set, much in the vein of his fellow northerners Twisted Wheel and - dare I say it, seeing as every artist with a northern accent is immediately lumbered with the comparison - Arctic Monkeys. Mahon’s set is short but incredibly sweet, and he is joined on stage by a full band, which apparently doesn’t happen too often (according to a random bloke I overheard talking), consisting of some solid indie rock/kind-of-social-commentary-esque songs including ‘Council Estate Love’ and the afore-mentioned highlight of the set.

Why the incredibly popular Mahon is relegated to the bottom of tonight’s bill is absolutely beyond me, because after he leaves to chants of “Danny Mahon, Danny Mahon, Danny Maaaa-hon”, the crowd gathered in the increasingly busy Ruby Lounge are subjected to a band known as The Venus Fury. A wholly misleading name, given that it suggests some kind of emotion, and The Venus Fury are about as devoid of emotion as it gets. Singer Iraina’s vocals do complement the band’s pop-tinged, trendy, if not a little generic, indie sounds well, and their studio recordings aren’t terrible, but The Venus Fury could really do without the lead singer’s pouting and frankly embarrassing amateur dramatics/bad dancing. Saying that, the males in the audience seem to absolutely love it, which may or may not have something to do with the fact that she’s gorgeous. Just saying.

With that experience thankfully over and done with, we come to the lovely Miles Kane, one half of The Last Shadow Puppets, bezzie mate of The Courteeners, and ex-member of The Rascals and The Little Flames. It goes without saying, then, that Kane has a lot to live up to given his past experiences in the music industry. And happily he doesn’t disappoint. With his often introspective and innovative lyrics and a winning blend of scuzzy, psychedelic guitar sounds with punchy rhythms, Miles Kane has definitely evolved from his days in his former bands, and it’s refreshing to hear something different from him. Honestly, I was expecting some acoustic, almost run-of-the-mill indie rock, but songs such as new single ‘Inhaler’, due on the 22nd of November from Kane’s forthcoming debut solo album, prove that the singer-songwriter-guitarist is certainly not a one-trick-pony, and has reinvented himself as an incredibly distinctive performer. Kane’s voice is his greatest asset; a unique concoction of old-school bluesy tones with a hint of that almost trademark northern-ness, a la fellow Puppets bandmate Alex Turner. The crowd seem to revel in his new solo material, and he too seems to genuinely appreciate the audience’s reaction and his time onstage in Manchester. In addition to the afore-mentioned single, highlights include ‘Re-arrange’, a great, catchy song reminiscent of some old 1960s garage band, and ‘Better Left Invisible’, containing without a doubt the best guitar riffs of the night.

All in all, I truly believe that tonight is a resounding success for Miles Kane, one of many, I think it would be safe to say. I predict huge things for this guy upon the arrival of his new album, due for release sometime next February; with any luck, it will catapult him from the status of cult indie icon to massive star, something which, of course, he already is in his own right.

Ashley West

 


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