English singer-songwriter promotes last year’s One Man Band album in a boisterous, frenetic show that shows how he’s entering his prime
Lad rock is back in town – as if it ever really went away. Miles Kane ends the UK part of his headline European tour promoting recent album One Man Band with two sold-out gigs at London’s Electric Ballroom. He may still be best known as one half of The Last Shadow Puppets – together with his mate Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys – but Kane’s solo career now stretches back over a decade and he’s in fine form both in the studio and when playing live.
Before the main man comes on stage the indie guitar rock fires up with The Royston Club, an up-and-coming four-piece from Wrexham who are much more than just a warm-up act. Their debut album Shaking Hips And Crashing Cars broke into the top 20 in 2023, and their soaring anthems are surely going to make a big impact on outdoor festival crowds later this year. They open with what can only be described as a blistering account of Blisters, while songs like Mrs Narcissistic and Mariana maintain high energy levels, while a more sensitive side of the band is revealed in Cherophobe. It’s true their music doesn’t sound very distinctive, but with catchy hooks galore and melodic choruses – plus a confident frontman in Tom Faithfull – they look as if they’ve got what it takes.
A more muscular presence, Kane hits the stage and the guitars are immediately cranked up as he and his touring band (Ben Rose guitar, Nathan Sudders bass, Liam Toon drums) deliver a tight, adrenaline-high 65-minute set. After short-lived bands The Little Flames and The Rascals, as well as two albums with supergroup/side project The Last Shadow Puppets (while he supported Turner’s Arctic Monkeys on tour last year), Kane may not have always received the recognition he deserves as a solo artist – but he certainly gets plenty of it from the Electric Ballroom crowd amidst a boisterous evening.
Unsurprisingly, his fifth studio album One Man Band – probably his best to date, produced by his fellow Merseysider cousin and The Coral frontman James Skelly – figures highly especially early on. After the more mellow soulful sound of his previous release Change The Show – interestingly his only album that does not feature in the gig – Kane has returned to his garage-rock roots. The lead single Troubled Son makes a storming start to his set, with its jagged guitar lines and driving rhythm. The Wonder lives up to its name as an irresistible earworm, while the title track sees Kane excel in edgy whammy-bar playing and Baggio is a more mellifluous tribute to the Italian football star.
There’s definitely a bit of a footie atmosphere with laddish chanting – united in feelgood enthusiasm if not in musical harmony – frequently breaking out and plenty of punching in the air. Not so much a mod these days with his buzz cut and stubble, Kane takes off his black leather jacket to play the rest of the gig in just a white vest as the performance becomes more frenetic. Debut solo single Inhaler is played super-fast, the 60s-style First Of My Kind gets a big response and the deep-grooved Coup De Grace has people belting out the chorus.
The evening reaches a rousing climax with Kane orchestrating extended, call-and-response versions of Come Closer and, as an encore, Don’t Forget Who You Are. Not known for his chat, he does say with genuine feeling: “London, I wanna say thank you very, very much. This has been the best tour of my life.” This singer/songwriter/lead guitarist “one man band” seems to be hitting his prime.