Submitted by Kris Pedersen.
As the sun sets behind All Saints Church and casts a silhouette over the City skyline, the view from the Balcony Bar of the Sage is one of real beauty, but it’s nothing compared to what the select band of I Am Kloot fans are about to be treated to.
Hall Two is the venue and as you walk inside its design is reminiscent of an Amish Grain Store with a smattering of seats and a small standing area in front of a semi-circular stage with an instantly intimate feel.
The band enters the auditorium. Three more unassuming musicians you could never wish to meet. Peter Jobson, the bassist originally hailing from Ashington and Andy Hargreaves the drummer, slide into position and prepare for the arrival of John Bramwell. Dressed in a dark shirt, jeans, suit jacket and a pair of Merrell’s, Bramwell oozes cool and glides onto the stage clutching a pint of lager in one hand and a glass of whiskey in the other. After steadying himself and his strapless guitar on his upturned beer crate, he starts to sing with a gravelly yet equally crystal clear voice.
The band are classed as a rock band, but it’s difficult to categorise I Am Kloot and this, for me, is what makes them so unique. There is a hint of soul and a dash of the Blues in their sound and Bramwell’s lyrics are haunting, bearing his emotional scars, which he wears like badges. Even in moments of interaction with the audience you get a sense of just how profound a wordsmith he is by saying “we have plenty of time….until we realise we’re running out of it”.
There is no pomp and no ceremony. There is no new album to plug. This is a 2 night tour with the only other performance being at the Lowry in Salford. This is a treat for all Kloot fans playing a mix of old & new songs. ‘Gods & Monsters’ hasn’t been performed for so long that Bramwell has to check with fellow band members what the opening chords are!
Bramwell also confesses that he isn’t terribly happy with the new material the band have written, but then plays a show stopping solo acoustic of a brand new song with lyrics that encourage “don’t let the clouds clutter up your sky; Just let the TV’s switch off their weary eyes”. During this song, the immaculately behaved audience holds its collective breath and lets out a great cheer when he is done.
All too soon though, the time comes for the band to leave the stage having just finished with the beautiful ‘Proof’ from the Mercury Nominated ‘Sky At Night’ album. Returning for one more song, Bramwell now has a glass of red wine as his drink of choice. A rousing reception greets the band and the finale is as beautiful as the previous 90 minutes of material.
With the City now in darkness, it’s time to leave with words like ‘amazing’, ‘brilliant’, ‘magical’ and ‘wonderful’ filling the air. I Am Kloot are a band who deserve a shot at the big time and remind me of where Elbow were 7 or 8 years ago, but nights like this showcase their extraordinary talents in the most intimate and personal settings. Long may that continue even if the arena tours do come calling.