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The Struts / King Nun / Kyle Falconer Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 20, 2019    
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The Struts / King Nun / Kyle Falconer - 16 October 2019 - Kentish Town Forum, London (UK)

First support Kyle Falconer is apparently a personal friend of the Struts from their days in Derby and is a singer-songwriter in the commercial Rock category, so the performance had a poppy radio feel and also a bit of a Leif Garrett circa seventies look. He was good at hitting the high notes against quality backing vocal harmonies and did a bit of a star turn with a mini guitar.

King Nun are very young and look like they are still in school, possibly public school. They reminded me a little of the band of Biff Byford's son Naked Six. Quite alternative, they did exactly what they wanted on stage, weird mock diving through tunnel moves and Zeberdee hopping and it was loud and raucous with lots of screaming. They look like their heroes might include people like Iggy Pop. At the end it took their frontman five good goes at smashing a guitar on the floor until it came apart and he held it triumphantly aloft. This is definitely still a juvenile work in progress, but they did what they could to engage the audience as much as possible and their heart is in the right place.

The Struts are, of course, a well seasoned touring band by now and Luke Spiller is an absolute ball of energy, running and jumping so much for first song 'Primadonna Like Me' that it was difficult to get a photo shot in until he finally settled down a little at the mike for 'Body Talk'. He was a blur of shiny red and black fringes and heavily made-up eyes. There's something very Vaudeville about his face and I always imagine him like a Pierrot applying his grease paint alone before a Hollywood style light-bulbed mirror, and there's no doubt he was meant to be on stage. He is a master at working the crowd and like a wild religious zealot had the whole crowd of perfectly straight-looking people shaking their hands above their heads as if they had just received the Lord.

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Although most of the crowd wer high street there was one Metalhead behind me in the crowd in his KISS T-shirt and I couldn't help but smile at him singing loudly that he wanted to be in a 'Tatler Magazine'. I think Spiller's gift is that he makes people forget their inhibitions and throw themselves into the show from the off. He encouraged them by promising them that the show was being filmed for a video. He has no compunction in combining a PVC-fringed suit with an ethnic top and later on wearing a kimono style top that could have been made out of curtains. Marvelling at what he wears is, however, definitely also part of the show. Indeed, he commented that people have asked him when he's going to stop wearing the weird clothes before he urged the crowd to just be themselves. He draws eyes to him just like Tim Curry and I doubt anyone gets any attention when either of them are in a room.

Inevitably comparisons with Queen abound during the show. There was some lovely Brian May tone-like guitar. Spiller had a white piano on stage that he revisited a few times and with his dark hair and eyes and sense of the theatrical it's difficult not to think of Freddie Mercury when watching them play. Indeed Queen changed their style throughout their career and Mercury embraced all forms of music, so it was unsurprising to see the Rap-style single 'I Do It So Well' in the set as the Struts clearly do not see them defined by any one genre, and I actually sense that they are, in this show, in fact leaving some of their Glam Rock leanings behind for wider horizons. In some ways the performance itself always overshadows the music, catchy though it is.

There was something of an old-school theatre feel to the show, the audience was divided into sections and asked to have a screaming match. They were also asked to sit down and then jump up like a Firework all at once and they all sat down and jumped up like lambs in thrall to the eyeball magnet on stage. Yes, some of it was a bit cheesy and Spiller acknowledged this by starting a few bars of 'Time Of My Life' before admitting it was just a joke. His thanks to the crowd for making it the greatest year of their career and buying the music to make it chart did feels heartfelt though. Part of me feels sad that the band are going more mainstream and perhaps leaving their Rock roots behind a little, but I cannot begrudge them success. Spiller would be nothing without his crowd and he knows that; however fabulous he is, he needs to be in front of his audience, as many people as he can possibly get, as that is where he truly lives.

Dawn Osborne

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