REVIEW: King Creosote, The Sage Gateshead

Kenny Anderson, aka King Creosote.
Kenny Anderson, aka King Creosote.
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King Creosote may have graduated to Hall 1 on his latest visit to The Sage, yet this outing was fuelled by the same independent spirit that’s characterised all the ones before.

One of Scotland’s finest songwriters, Kenny Anderson first made waves back in ‘90s Fife, when he reeled out countless albums and ran the influential, fiercely-DIY Fence Records on a shoestring.

These days he’s signed to Domino and working with an actual recording budget; developments which have brought him a level of success, and, in tonight’s case, a step-up to The Sage’s main hall.

Many artists would respond by pandering to this new, larger audience, but Anderson, if anything, took the complete opposite approach.

Indeed, over the course of an hour and 45 minutes, he managed to completely ignore his three most popular records – 2005’s breakthrough KC Rules OK, 2011’s Mercury-nominated Jon Hopkins collaboration Diamond Mine and 2014’s superb From Scotland With Love – instead focusing squarely on his latest, Astronaut Meets Appleman.

Released last September, the nine-track LP is yet another solid addition to his vast cannon, and with time may be viewed in a similar light to the aforementioned favourites.

Even so, playing the album in its entirety seemed a bold move – but then no two King Creosote tours are ever the same.

The same can also be said of his touring bands, and with a bumper eight-piece in tow, tonight’s granted him plenty of scope with which to experiment.

Tense, slow-burning opener You Just Want, for instance, was stretched to around 10 minutes, while Melin Wynt and the marvellous Surface came fully fleshed-out, complete with bagpipes and electronics.

The encore too brought plenty of surprises, including a fabulous Burns Night rendition of Leezie Lindsay, and Anderson doing a full circuit of the room, thanking each and every row for their attendance.

It was a lovely personal touch, and while this was by no means the best King Creosote show I’ve seen, it nevertheless packed in all the ingredients which make his visits so essential.

If one thing's for certain, it’s that the next one will take a different form altogether!