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Kyle Falconer - The Warehouse, Falkirk 18.08.2018

A Typical Scottish Summer evening (light rain, with the promise of deluge) sees me making my way to The Warehouse, Falkirk to see Kyle Falconer, on tour to promote his new solo album “No Thank You”.

The Warehouse is a nightclub (yes I know, me at a nightclub is more out of place than compassion would be at a Conservative Party Conference) and possibly not the best venue for a band. Nothing against The Warehouse but I’ve never been to a gig in a nightclub where there hasn’t been real issues with the sound, and so it transpires tonight. Feedback makes multiple appearances and the vocals frequently get lost - at one point, the piano on “Japanese Girl” completely obliterates the vocals…it’s just one of those things where small venue meets in house PA and then you introduce a lot of people and body heat into the equation and it completely throws where the mix was in sound check. I did, actually, discover the sweet spot when I got lost on the way to the toilet - but you can’t really review a gig from the smoking area, can you?

Support for the night came from Kieran Fisher, The Nickajack Men and Vida, a band from just up the road in Alloa. I only manage to catch Vida’s set and am not overly sure what to make of them…they are your typical Indie band and clearly they have a lot of mates in, so audience reaction is an unreliable barometer. I find myself paying more and more attention to the lead guitarist who is sporting a pair of shades – in a nightclub! And, before the current Mrs. W starts, let me assure you I’m not judging (maybe he has Photophobia but somehow I doubt it). I merely content myself with amusement that, as the set continues, he seems to be doing his bestest John Power impersonation. Having said that, they are tight and new single “A Place Where We Can Forget” impresses.

And so, onto the main act…Kyle Falconer walks onto stage, flashes a smile through his curly hair and then launches into “Poor Me”, followed by “The Therapist” – we’re off to a good start. The set is a mix of tracks from the new album, as well as The View and a storming cover of “I’ve Just Seen A Face” which has always been a vastly underrated song.

However, the thing that sticks out for me throughout the night, but especially over the first 5 or 6 songs, is the relative lack of audience interaction…I can’t work out if it is due to the poor sound or the fact that a (relatively) newly sober singer finds himself playing to a pissed up bunch of folk (the irony of people singing along to songs about being clean, while waving noxious looking drinks in the air can’t be lost on him, can it?) He does warm to the occasion as the night goes on (bringing up one of the audience to sing on “Face For The Radio”) but I can’t help returning to the thought that maybe this venue is more promoter than performer choice and it’s showing. This is kind of confirmed by the end of the show…”Grace” finishes and then he’s whisked through the crowd and into the green room area. There is no encore and the pack up starts almost immediately the stage is empty.

It’s difficult to sum up the evening…it feels a bit of a bust if I’m honest. There’s no doubt the sound played its part but, despite playing in front of a heavily ‘on side’ audience, it just didn’t look a comfortable experience for Falconer and that translated itself to me. I don’t know if it is the type of venue or because we’re still in single figures as far as shows done or he’s not fully comfortable with a new band or being the sole focus is unnerving him but it was the first show I’ve been to in a long time where I felt kind of “Oh well” when the lights went up.

Review - Chris Watson

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