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I Am Kloot – free gig this weekend

Sarah Tierney catches up with two-thirds of I Am Kloot ahead of their headline slot at the Spinningfields mini-festival on Sunday

Published on August 21st 2008.

I Am Kloot – free gig this weekend

I Am Kloot are playing live at Spinningfields this weekend – and it's free to get in. A gig by this acclaimed Manchester trio would be a highlight of any Bank Holiday weekend, whatever the ticket price. But when I met singer John Bramwell and bassist Pete Jobson in a pub off Deansgate earlier this week, they weren't sounding too sure about it all...

“I think we might have returned to something that we had initially, which we all think is maybe quite a good idea.”

"I think you'd go to a gig if it was free if it was raining and you knew where it was,” John says, “But if it was free and it was raining, and you didn't know where it was…"So just to clarify to everyone who's been living on Mars for the past three years then you'll find Spinningfields just behind Deansgate, in between the Opera House and the Law Courts. And even if you're still a bit unsure of the location, you'd be daft to miss this concert.

I Am Kloot live is a wondrous experience, even in the rain. They've returned to their home city to squeeze this performance in amongst a string of concerts and festival appearances on the continent, where they've been playing to a fanbase that took their latest album into the Top 30 in Germany.

Although they've never had full-on, mainstream success in the UK, those who have discovered their music tend to like it a lot. They're the type of band that people declare to be their number one favourite and rave about passionately to friends. After seeing them at the Latitude festival in July, author Irvine Welsh enthused about their performance to Stuart Maconie in an ITV2 interview. His friend, film director Danny Boyle had recommended them to him. No doubt they were recommended to Boyle by someone else. Word-of-mouth marketing is supposed to be the best promotion around – and this band are name-dropped in some pretty high places.

I mention their celebrity fanbase to them and Pete says that he's heard that one of Boris Johnson's advisors is really into their music.

It's not quite who I was referring to. “Pete Doherty?” I offer. He once pedantically described John as, 'One of the four most talented songwriters this country has produced in the last ten years.'

“You're thinking Pete and Kate. We're thinking Boris Johnson's advisor,” John says.

“There's Christopher Eccleston. And that guy out of Lost...” adds Pete.

“And the guy out of Teachers...” says John.

“He's a really nice fellow. Andrew something...a really nice chap,” says Pete.

While I'm impressed by their celebrity fans, they don't seem overly excited by them. Which is fair enough I suppose; they've been around for nearly ten years and have four much-praised albums under their belt plus a John Peel sessions release.

Their most recent album, I Am Kloot Play Moolah Rouge was recorded in a two-day session at the Stockport recording studio of that name. I ask why they decided to go for this no-messing-about, rough-around-the-edges approach, rather than creating a more polished record.

“It's because it sounded right,” explains John. “It's got that real dynamic to it. You can feel it. I don't know why the human ear can distinguish between music that's been separately layered and music played when everyone's in the same room together, but they can tell and I think it makes for a better experience.

“One song, 'Hey Little Bird', we pretty much just learnt while we were recording and it's got a real freshness to it. The atmosphere was all there.”

Moolah Rouge succeeds in capturing I Am Kloot's best side: the straight-to-the-heart quality of their simple, uplifting melodies and the dark romanticism of their lyrics. They're not slick, over-produced performances and they're more affecting because of it.

I mention that it sounds more like their début album, Natural History, than their last two releases, and John seems to agree:

“I think we might have returned to something that we had initially, which we all think is maybe quite a good idea.”

They'll be back in Moolah Rouge studios recording their next album when John has finished writing the songs, which he says will be “soon.” He says he writes “All the time and none of the time,” and adds that, “Good songs are usually easy to write, it's just that you have to go through an awful lot of bad ones to get to them.”

At Spinningfields on Sunday, you'll get to hear some of their best. From their current album, they'll be playing, amongst others, 'Down at the Front' which John says is about Bryan Glancy – a much-missed friend and fellow songwriter who died in 2006.

He quotes some of the lyrics: “'I've got what you need, I've got what you want. I'll see you at eight, down at the front.”

“It means a few things that,” he says. “It's just using normal vernacular language to convey things that are perhaps bigger than you.”

He's got something there: seeing I Am Kloot live certainly takes you out of yourself. If you've seen them before, you'll already know that. If you haven't, get down to Spinningfields to find out what you've been missing.

I Am Kloot play at Spinningfields on Sunday 24 August. They'll be supported by It's A Buffalo, The Travelling Band, The Mekkits and Bluebird Kid Clark. Free entry. Music starts at 4pm.

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6 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Dr QiAugust 21st 2008.

Does anyone know what time I Am Kloot are scheduled to perform?Its going to be an awesome bank holiday weekend in Manchester!

Miss MAugust 21st 2008.

Dr Qi, probably about 7ish. It starts at 4pm and I've read there is 4 hours of music.

Miss MAugust 21st 2008.

Just checked their myspace page and it says 7pm. http://www.myspace.com/iamklootmusic

SarahAugust 21st 2008.

Any idea what time Travelling Band are on? Just be my luck if I missed them..and I most definately do not want to!

tankgirlAugust 21st 2008.

Went tonight...It was Fabulous Great atmosphereTravelling Band were just excellent for a sunday afternoon and I am Kloot topped off the night superblyOnly marred by a few dodgy sound faults

Burt CodeineAugust 21st 2008.

Liveliest I've ever seen Spinningfields (clinical yes but very modern looking area...the CJC is tremendous) and quite possibly a location with potential; downside was the only bars were chain restaurants - an independent or two down this end (even a tent/marquee pitched up for the day) would be a good start. Missed I am Kloot as kids bedtime was approaching, but the Travelling Band really took me by surprise. California with a Manchester postcode...I hope they do well, just the type of band Manchester could do with. Gorgeous stuff.

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