The hours go by like sips of water…

So last weekend, I went to the Fleece inBristolfor my first gig of the year. I’d been looking forward to it for a few months since it was announced and it turned out to be a really beautiful event, one I’ll remember for a good while. Diamond Mine was one of my favourite records of 2010, although inexplicably I managed to leave it off my Seven Great Records list for the year. If I were writing that now, I’d change that…

King Creosote & Jon Hopkins

Never been to the Fleece before, but I have a feeling it won’t be long before I’m back again. Lovely little venue, with a real pub feel to it (the clinking of bottles is a predominant feature of the recording) and a pretty good pedigree for “my sort of act”. The acoustics in the place were great, really clear, but the actual sound was pretty ropey at times, with a couple of major mishaps and some distortion. More of which later…

First support band, Delfinger, a guitarists and two chubby fellers on tiny synths, were pretty good and worth recording (if only I had…), but second support Withered Hand, had already been flagged up to me as worth a listen and I managed to record his whole set. Good it was too, although it started off quite literally with a bang from a mic that had people diving for cover. His songs kept the attention, sounding a little like Fionn Regan and punctuated by a nice line in self-deprecating between-songs chat.

The King Creosote set started in similarly inauspicious fashion, as the long lead in introduction track, First Watch, fed in to John Taylor’s Month Away the mics failed altogether and he had to abandon the song with a desperate “Fuck it!”.  There was a considerable amount of laughter and joking about it and it turned out not to matter, being something of an emblem for the evening as a whole, good natured, witty and unfussy. All the tracks from Diamond Mine were performed pretty much unbroken to an appreciative, at times, spellbound audience. It’s a great cycle of songs with King Creosote’s voice carefully and affectionately complimented byHopkins’ background keyboards and accordion. It was stunning.

Once Diamond Mine had been exhausted, the pair seemed to relax a little, with noticeably more banter with the audience and a selection of other Creosote songs taking the evening to close on an hour and a half. An encore that included an exceptional, very poignant version of Song to the Siren brought the evening to an eventual but still-too-soon end.

It had been a warm, intimate affair despite the technical hitches, and I’ve tried to make sure the recordings reflect that, usually I’d be furiously editing out as much audience interference as possible, but the occasional bit of chatter and the odd clink of bottles seemed to add to the whole thing. I’ve also included the whole “Fuck it!” part of John Taylor’s Month Away, and the sounds of one unfortunate woman fainting and having to be carried out during Running on Fumes. It’s a real warts and all recording, but I like it…

A few highlights…

First Watch / John Taylor’s Month Away (“Fuck it!”)

Bats in the Attic

Spy Stick

Song to the Siren

and something from the Withered Hand set

No Cigarettes

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