What a whirlwind of a year it has been for this ridiculously talented young man. A year on from his debut solo single ‘Inhaler‘, which breathed fresh life into a stale music scene, it’s safe to say that things have pretty much gone to plan. Where to start? Well, there’s the critically acclaimed album ‘Colour Of The Trap‘, support slots with the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Beady Eye, and more recently the announcement that he’ll be warming up for the mighty Kasabian on their forthcoming arena tour. Now that is ‘empire’.
Miles Kane channels the spirit of John Lennon and fronts it with the wardrobe of Paul Weller. Encompassing all the criteria that qualifies rock star status, as well as having the tunes to back it up with, Miles has become a household name this year. ‘Inhaler’, ‘Rearrange‘ and ‘Come Closer‘ might not have broken any records in the charts but they’re three of the finest song’s you’ll hear in 2011.
‘Come Closer’ inevitably became his breakthrough hit and is notably one of the few songs on his album that was not co-written – a kick in the face to those who wrote him off in The Last Shadow Puppets as being the second fiddle to Alex Turner. The work he did with his former bands The Rascals and The Little Flames had already earned him a reputation as a respected songwriter among a loyal following, but now he is reaching out to a wider audience and British music is all the better for it.
Camden can proudly associate itself with Britpop having been the stomping ground for all the key figures during the movement. Its pubs were frequented by the likes of Blur and all those at the heart of the scene. It is of course also the former home of the late Amy Winehouse. Tonight, it was host to another promising young talent, Miles Kane, who played his second night at the Electric Ballroom.
Arriving on stage and whipping up a frenzy and launching into the call-to-arms rocker ‘Counting Down The Days‘, this was a fantastic, energetic start, but then that energy failed – the technical kind. Difficulties with the sound forced the band to stop at least three times before exiting the stage for 10 minutes, leaving a confused and increasingly frustrated crowd in suspense. Once the problem was fixed Miles and his band returned and apologised profusely, thanking the crowd for their patience, and they did not let the messy start affect the momentum that was clearly in full swing when they first arrived on stage.
The Electric Ballroom is a small venue but is the perfect environment for Miles’ blend of Mod influenced, dark, quirky pop music. Above all, the best thing about seeing Miles in this setting is the intimacy of the experience and witnessing just how much he puts into his performance. His work ethic tonight was inspirational as he put 110% percent into every track and demonstrated just how much he has developed as a front man over the past year. It’s as if the blood ran through his veins like a teenager out on the lash with his mates on the dance floor for the first time.
It’s not a one man show. Miles’ band deserve credit where it is due and what a blessed man he is to have such a solid backbone to give him the freedom and confidence to put on a good show. It’s no surprise that his drummer has the genes of an already established sticksman - Chris Sharrock of Beady Eye, formally Oasis and The La’s (not to mention, Robbie Williams – come on, we’ve all got to pay the bills). Miles is always keen to mention in interviews that the band are his mates and it shows in their chemistry.
‘Rearrange’ proved to be the first big singalong of the evening with its rousing chorus and Motown influenced rhythm that itched the feet of the crowd. Dropping the first ‘hit’ into the set list mid way through still left plenty of petrol left in the tank for the end, but Miles had another trick up his sleeve – ‘Hey Bulldog‘. There have been countless Beatles covers of the years, some good (The Vines‘, ‘I’m Only Sleeping‘, Oasis’ ‘I Am The Walrus‘), and some bad (Goldie Hawn‘s, ‘Hard Day’s Night‘, Kylie Minogue‘s, ‘Help‘), but Miles absolutely nailed this lesser obvious Beatles number. The song lends itself well to Miles’ style and was undoubtedly a highlight of the set.
‘Inhaler’ did exactly as expected – shaking the building like a devastating earthquake. That riff – despite being a cheeky borrowed one, is played ferociously loud and Miles screams the chorus like a young John Lennon until he’s blue in the face. ‘Come Closer’ also proved to be quite the crowd pleaser, as its ‘ah ah ah ah, oh oh oh oh oh’ refrain which sounds like it was written for moments just like this, was sung back to him with the passion and venom of a football chant at Wembley Stadium.
So, after a shaky start, Miles absolutely stormed through his set and glimmered the magic of a musician who is fast becoming an asset to British music that should keep a certain High Flying Bird on his toes for a good while.