It is not often when you are waiting in the crowd to see a band/singer, that the building anticipation in the room is for what the front man will be wearing that night. But as the crowd pack in to the intimate setting of the Academy, the bets come flooding in as to what the most dapper man in rock’n’roll’s attire will be. Leather pants? Polka dot shirt? Leopard print perhaps?
Before the main attraction, Telegram play to a near empty venue but do their best to arouse some attention from the crowd. Loud, lively and looking like they stepped off a 70’s vinyl cover, they keep their set short and sweet and are impressive for a relatively unheard of band. Once they leave the stage however, the excitement builds and each vacant space in the academy fills up in minutes.
Miles Kane and his band take to the stage a little after nine and launch straight in to it with ‘Inhaler’. Drinks go flying and moshpits begin as it soon becomes evident this will be a no holds–bar affair. Shaking the front rows hands, he asks how we’re all feeling and the answer is probably pretty tired, one song in. Kane keeps the momentum going with ‘Counting Down the Days’ and ‘King Crawler’, with the crowd regaining their strength again for hit ‘Better Than That’.
We may be ready for a breather but Miles is having none of it, commanding the crowd to shout back their admiration and give him everything they got. We’re reminded of his bromance with Alex Turner as, after ‘Taking Over’, he treats us to a cover of the Monkeys’ ‘Little Illusion Machine (Wirral Riddler)’. Something setting Miles Kane apart from his best mate, though, is the fact he has stage presence by the bucket load. Miles is a man that believes his own hype and if he sees that waning in any of the crowd, he’ll work twice as hard to make you a believer again. He stalks the stage, has a chat with the crowd, steals someone’s shoe, has us all sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to his guitarist, all the while maintaining the fire and professionalism that a true rock star should have.
The rest of the night is just as much about crowd anticipation as it is the band. There are plenty of “sing after me” moments with ‘Tonight’ and a ‘Sympathy For the Devil’ excerpt in the middle of ‘Give Up’. More moshpit madness ensues for ‘Come Closer’ and ‘Rearrange’, while ‘Colour of the Trap’ gives us all time to reflect on what a special night it’s been. In true fashion he doesn’t want anyone leaving on a reflective note and ends like the whole thing began with ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’. He leaves us and loves us and there is a mixed feeling of exhaustion and exhilaration from the crowd, but everyone is satisfied.
For a set that lasted little over an hour, Miles proved not only is he the best dressed frontman but probably the hardest working in rock’n’roll. And it’s hard not to believe in a man that can pull off a silk shirt and white jeans. And no-one won any bets.
Photo: Olga Kuzmenko