After hearing about a number of great gigs taking place here, I finally get to visit Bristol's Trinity Centre, a venue that doubles up as one of the city's oldest churches. Tonight I'm here for I Am Kloot, a band whose latest album 'Let It All In' has provided them with a breakthrough Top 10 chart position and more well-deserved critical acclaim. Since their Mercury nominated 'Sky At Night', those of us in the know have been watching their gradual ascent from cult heroes to one of the UK's finest and well-loved bands. Like their good friends Elbow, they've already come a long way and they've done it on their own terms. But this magnificent group don't forget who their friends are, and tonight's show is a warm, intimate affair for all concerned, despite a sold-out crowd full of fans old and new.
This makes a change from piss-soaked pubs and soulless arenas: a well presented stage beautifully lit up with rows of candles and subtle lighting. A perfect visual accompaniment to the eloquent beauty and wistfulness of the band's music. They begin with a splendid 'From Your Favourite Sky' and the biting, infectious 'Morning Rain'. It's a well chosen set that showcases a generous eight songs from the recent album, while the rest of the tracks are mainly from 'Sky At Night' and the much loved 2001 debut 'Natural History', more than enough to keep every type of Kloot fan satisfied. In fact the newly converted will probably leave here wondering why they've only just got into this band after so many years.
But even if this is your first Kloot gig, they will make you feel like you're already a friend, and there seems to be absolutely no barrier between band and audience. Frontman John Bramwell engages the crowd with his relaxed banter in between songs, calmy delivered wit that no one could fail to be amused by. Discussing the success of the new LP during one of many casual conversations with the audience, he remarks that recent critical acclaim has helped: "the Sunday Times described me as "a very heavy drinker"... that's one to show to my kids...".
A sublime 'Northern Skies' is equally as stirring as it is on record, while 'Bullets' amazes with its slow, creeping build up and exciting drunken burlesque climax. The lyrics and the way in which they're delivered seem to connect with everyone in a resounding way, from the boozy tales of 'The Brink' to the hope and contrasting introspect of a beautifully soulful 'Some Better Day'. A brooding 'Hold Back The Night' highlights the awesome dynamics of the three piece and the additional musicians that have joined them to enhance their live sound, sounding truly awesome at the song's dramatic peak. After the song's close, the rest of the band exit the stage, leaving John on his own. "About six years ago the other guys suggested what a great idea it would be for me to do a solo set in the middle of the show" he reveals. "But then after a while I worked out that this was coincidentally the point that the smoking ban had been put in place..."
We should be thanking Pete and Andy for their ulterior motives. The two-song acoustic section is absolutely spellbinding, capturing and completely hushing the audience. While everyone is watching and listening silently in wonder, it's so quiet in here, you can even hear the bar staff bottling up from the back of the venue.
Later they finish off the main part of the set before reappearing for a the stunning breeze of 'Proof' and a hugely uplifting finale of 'These Days Are Mine', wrapping up a set that leaves their audience delighted. And who could fail to be charmed by such a superbly delivered performance of these wonderful, incredibly well crafted songs? After the gig a lot of people stay at the venue, and it's not long before the group reappear to say hello to all the fans, meeting everyone personally and signing countless autographs. A refreshingly humble bunch of guys who are surely on their way to becoming national treasures.
To see more of my photos from this gig go HERE
and to watch a playlist of videos I filmed on the night, look below