I Am Kloot - Manchester Ritz - 24.4.05

This is the exact same venue that I Am Kloot filmed in October 2003 for the limited edition DVD, which comes with their "Gods & Monsters" album. If you look closely you might just see myself clinging to the barriers immortalized in the archives of I Am Kloot's history. This time alas without a film crew for the ride, the band have just returned from America where they got the appreciation and acclaim they truly deserve. After an unusual choice of support acts, a French singer in an elegant ball gown performs covers in her native tongue, especially  effective during her Edith Piaff song. The Superqueens mix social commentary, politics and sardonic humour in a set which is at times a revelation. As good as these are there's only one reason why everybody's gathered here today and that's the mighty I Am Kloot!!!

Although frontman John Bramwell announces that they'll be playing a lot of new songs tonight, he still manages to throw in some old favourites, like the brutally direct, vicious diatribe "Twist", a live favourite from their "Natural History" album. It's one of the most truthful songs about love ever written. The new songs like recent single "Over My Shoulder" have a more expansive sound, richer in context, but undoubtedly I Am Kloot in the lyrics, arrangement and performance. It's as a unit, with an excellent drummer, bass player / occasional keyboard player that the band really excel with no egos or star billing. All three members are vital to the overall sound and equal in their skill and abilities. During "Morning Rain" the drum stick shatters into the crowd causing no injuries, but adding an unexpected edge of drama to the already electrifying set.

The girl stood next to me has travelled all the way from France to see the band the expression of joy on her face proves it was a journey well worth making. Such is the sort of devotion that IAK inspire. Other new songs like "An Ordinary Girl" and the heavy guitar rock of "Sand And Glue" are as welcome as more familiar tunes such as "To You" which sees Elbow's Guy Garvey appear on stage for backing vocals and to see these two close friends together is quite poignant.

They end with the rockiest track off their second self-titled album, "Life In A Day", which ricochets with the staccato beat, intoxicating to the senses. I Am Kloot have already booked The Academy for a date in October, so if you missed this gig you've got another chance to catch them in October. You'd be stupid not to.

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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