IT WAS A SURPRISINGLY short set – or shortened set.
He almost bites and scratches at the microphone with his mouth as he sings ‘To The Brink’. It feels more like protest than dark-humoured serenade. Two songs in – you just knew something was up.
Last night saw Hard Rock Café in Manchester host one of the city’s most well-loved singer-songwriters, Johnny Bramwell aka lead vocalist of I Am Kloot.
Bramwell said he was only going to play “about 4 songs” and made no secret to the just-under-200 crowd that he wasn’t getting paid for the gig.
To diffuse the tension he made some cracking stage gags between songs about the venue: “What are those guitars doing behind cases?” he said, whilst staring straight at Sting’s ostentatiously cream-coloured bass on the wall.
So the fans didn’t seem to mind at first – they got in for free, too.
Bramwell’s performance was fantastic nonetheless. He sang with his inimitable, disenchanted allure: raspy vocals, honest, witty and very Mancunian. One more beer and there were even shades of Nick Drake on ‘Northern Skies’ from latest album, Sky at Night.
Every song was met with rapturous applause – at least the audience knew it was about time Bramwell got recognized for the truly talented musician he is.
Though, finally, he quit the façade and announced: “I think putting me on at one of these things is pretty redundant. See ya,” he said, before heading to the side for a bevy.
In contrast to his walk-off, he was very sweet afterwards, happy to chat to fans after the gig. I ask him what inspired him behind 2001 hit Morning Rain and he said: “It’s about being kicked out of my flat!
“Well, that was the starting point of the song,” he says, and unfolds a little smile.
Fresh from the release of his new album Northern Skies, I Am Kloot played an intimate gig on behalf of Absolute Radio.
//written for Manchester Gossip, checkout http://www.manchestergossip.com/janemcconnell