Miles Kane: Live at the Barfly

24 Jan
The Last Shadow Puppet takes his solo album on the road. First stop: Camden, 22nd January.

After surfacing as the best mate of Alex Turner, Miles Kane has proved himself to have more in common with the Arctic Monkeys frontman than just a hairdresser.

He’s been the frontman of his own band – The Rascals – and worked with Alex to release his best work as one half of The Last Shadow Puppets. Tonight, Miles Kane is appearing as Miles Kane, testing his first solo album before an April release.

The packed Barfly holds balding Britpoppers and a scattering of Arctic Monkeys fans, discussing whether Alex Turner or perhaps even Noel Gallagher will take to the stage, having recently added vocals to his album in return for Kane playing guitar on the forthcoming Noel solo album. Of course, the problem with riding on the coat tails of friends is that, sooner or later, you’re going to have to prove yourself and that’s why this live solo debut is taking part in a room that holds 200 people – it’s less risky than, say, the Kentish Town Forum. The audience at the Barfly tonight are almost exclusively die-hard indie drunks who have been watching bands in the venue since 3pm.

The last time we saw Miles Kane, he was bouncing around the audience at Blur’s 2009 Hyde Park gig, sharing poppers with Peaches Geldof and Agyness Deyn and playing air guitar. He spoke about how great Blur were, constantly caught up in the guitar solos and choruses, living the moment while The Rascals were going nowhere fast. Friendly, passionate and devoted to music, you can’t help but feel sorry for a man desperately trying to live the life of a rock star while failing to get any success outside of The Last Shadow Puppets or the Shadow of Alex Turner.

Even tonight, Alex Turner’s other half Alexa Chung attracts more attention than the band as she slinks to the back of the bar. The sound of Miles Kane with his new band isn’t that different to The Rascals – urgent, basic melodies full of chroruses which never really engage or prompt a singalong.

Recent track Inhaler is a radio-friendly riff without substance and other songs retread the bluesy garage band stuff that we expect The Coral experimented with when they were at high school. The best thing about Miles Kane solo is his voice but this is drowned out by musicians so enthusiastic, they look like a music class covering their favorite hits. There is a cover tonight, too – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Spread Your Love, a muscular stomp that, in it’s original anthemic form, has enough bass and swagger to blow amps and shatter windows.

Tonight, Spread Your Love sounds like Harry Potter tapping away to Motorhead on Guitar Hero – tinny, high pitched and just wrong.The laddish swagger that Miles Kane talks about just isn’t here tonight, nor are the ‘good looking blokes playing good music’ that he’s fond of saying to the press.

Instead, we get a talented singer struggling to define himself as a frontman and nervous, pale friends as bandmates who kill the attitude that begins to appear towards the end of the night. For someone so obsessed with British guitar heroes of the past, Miles Kane needs to look at creating modern sounds and a better band – even Oasis had to cut friends out of the party at some point.


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