Written by Billy Edwards
Miles Kane was not afraid to be fine-tuned to his crimson-red guitar, his band and his audience in a stunning show inside Cardiff’s Tramshed. Acutely aware his audience were hungry to see and hear him live following a few postponements due to the pandemic, he put forward what must be his finest showmanship.
The Tramshed was filled with mods, indie fans and rockers kitted out to welcome Kane to Cardiff. There were two impressive opening acts to savour before, however. The first was Tom A Smith, an impressive youngster who served up spiky guitar as the assembling crowds began to sip at their first drinks. He sported the ‘New York City’ t-shirt made famous by John Lennon, apt for a set that evoked the edginess of his Plastic Ono Band solo record – Kane would later raise a hat to his fellow musical Liverpudlian in the main act. Scottish soul singer Brooke Combe followed with a rousing set, including a cover of Arctic Monkeys’ “Why Do You Only Ever Call Me When You’re High” – this indie classic was a likely nod to their lead singer Alex Turner, who was Kane’ collaborator in The Last Shadow Puppets.
The theme tune to Rocky signalled Kane’s set was about to begin – perhaps a little pompously – yet the crowd were proficiently roused by the time the band entered the stage to new song ‘Don’t Let it Get You Down’. They were immediately impressive for being particularly well-dressed – the keyboardist João De Macedo Mello however stole this fashion show with his velvet smoking jacket and trilby, which had a feather tucked in. Kane wore a smart red shirt and narrow blue trousers as well as an armband, which was aptly emblazoned “Change The Show”. Although he wasn’t wearing the pair of boxing shorts available to purchase at the merchandise stand, Miles’ love for the sport was reflected in his great performances as he returned round after round with big hitters from his considerably large catalogue. After increasing the pace even more with ‘Inhaler’, imploring “let’s have it”, he turned to a few tracks from 2018’s Coup De Grace, such as the pounding funk of the title track and the glam-infused clap-a-long ‘Cry on My Guitar’.
Miles relished the wonder of being close to his fans, very much enthused by the very warm reaction to his latest tunes, whilst proving they couldn’t have possibly forgotten the older ones – a few such as ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’ created moshpits amongst the audience to match the band’s wall of sound. When other players would take over in a solo, Kane would gingerly approach the front of the stage and a swarm of raised hands would rise in admiration; he would then crouch down to the audience and study their faces as if committing them to memory.
The turns into the work of The Last Shadow Puppets were very much welcomed – the performance of the snappy ‘Bad Habits’ was an edgy major-chord bonanza which proved Alex Turner wasn’t necessary to have around to make these songs sound great. Miles’ voice was impressively still not letting up after many yelps, cries, and screams, illustrating he was feeling his music just as much as his audience was. Kane was so enthused to be playing these songs that it implied the setlist was a summation of the favourites. The new tracks were becoming anthems in their own right, evident in how the audience rejoiced in the infectious chorus to ‘Never Get Tired of Dancing’. His bundles of attitude commanded you to join in the dance. Their power seemed almost superhuman – for ‘Change The Show’, the keyboardist took out a saxophone and joined the band at the stage’s front akin to the suitable formation of a superhero team.
Around halfway through, Miles introduced a personal stand-out from the new record, the jaunty ‘Nothing’s Ever Gonna Be Enough’ – with RAHH fitting comfortably into the duet with a cheerfully cosy rapport with Miles. They appeared to have a strong rapport which made the songs even more likeable, whilst Kane swang on the spot and grasped his hands towards the roof in the song’s most impassioned moments. He seemed to enjoy the moments of classically soulful pleading to the heavens the most, such as on heartfelt ballad ‘Colour of The Trap’. He had perfect pitch on the higher tones of ‘See Ya When I See Ya’, likely inspired by one of his heroes, John Lennon. Kane had previously launched into a surprise cover of ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ by The Beatles, currently in vogue due to the recent ‘Get Back’ TV series. The band ensured the crowd sang along wonderfully to the classic and daresay improved upon it with a blistering guitar solo by McClorey, who bragged a curtain down on a winning tribute. The show then on was a gleeful victory lap, resulting in ‘Come Closer’ as a clean-cut closer to an excellent gig, a song that is likely his most well known as it is a great summation of Kane – bouncy, infectiously entertaining and cheekily seductive. Due to his excellent star power, Kane certified his audience not only went home with tired dancing feet but his classic tunes rattling around their heads.