Gig review: King Creosote/Emma Pollock

Gig review: King Creosote/Emma Pollock

Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, September 29, 2007

Well, it has been a quieter month for gigs here round at 17 Seconds Towers. After going to seven during August (not bad for someone in their thirties!). But with Emma Pollock supporting King Creosote at the Queen’s Hall…I couldn’t not, could I?

This was the third time I’ve seen Emma Pollock this year, although the first time since the release of her debut solo album. The only thing I could possibly say against her set is that it was too short. Otherwise, she seemed to be excited to be back at the Queen’s Hall (I saw her with the Delgados here in 2003 and 2005) and played a storming set. Opening with ‘If Silence Means That Much To You’ the half a dozen songs she plays remind me just how Watch The Fireworks has become a firm favourite here at 17 seconds Towers. ‘Adrenaline’ with that piano riff gets me everytime, and is currently my fabvourite track of the year, for what it’s worth. She finishes with ‘The Optimist’ and I’m gutted that she’s off again so quickly. May she return to Edinburgh a.s.a.p. I do not understand how this album only debuted at 30 on the indie charts -it deserves far better.

King Creosote AKA Kenny Anderson also jokes about chart positions, chuckling at the fact that his latest album Bombshell ‘peaked at 90 in the charts and is racing towards 200.’ It doesn’t reflect how popular he is in Scotland, to say nothing of how good he is. (Then again, when have the charts ever reflected how good and artist is? Don’t even get me started on personal taste. Some things just go far deeper than that.)
He comes on solo, introducing himself as King Creosote, but it’s hard to believe that a person in this sold-out gig cannot know who this man is. Joined by the band on the second song ‘Nooks’ it’s clear just how together they are as a live act, particularly with fellow Fence Collective member Johnny Lynch AKA the Pictish Trail on guitar (and vocals to melt your heart). Indeed the harmonies and chiming guitars of Mr. Lynch should not be underestimated as to the impact on the live impact of these songs.

For it’s the songs that have brought people here, even more than that voice, and the growing legend of the Fence collective and label and the self-released CD-Rs and the Fence Homegame festivals. ‘Spystick’ has one of the best couplets I’ve heard this year ‘She’s one of a dozen but you’ve seen the sight of the other eleven.’ And he’s got a great sense of humour that is gently self-deprecating, hugely endearing and very genuine. Strapping on an accordion for Bombshell opener he reminds us that ‘the definition of a gentleman is one who can play the accordion but chooses not to.’ Hell, there aren’t many people that I’d say this of, but I suspect he could make an album of just voice and accordion and it would be fab.

When I first encountered KC’s music, I lazily pigeonholed them as folk, but it’s clear that they take those folk elements and rock with them in their own wonderful way, no more so than on KC Rules OK’s ‘My Favourite Girl.’ Mrs. 17 Seconds hadn’t been convinced when we’d seen KC on a bill with Aberfeldy and My Latest Novel, but she was well and truly won over tonight.

Fantastic on wax and live…what does it take for the rest of the world to wake up to two of Scotland’s greatest?


King Creosote -‘My Favourite Girl.’ mp3

King Creosote -Nooks.’ mp3

Emma Pollock -‘Adrenaline.’ mp3

Emma Pollock -‘Limbs.’ mp3

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