It being my first time at Leeds O2 academy, I was pleasantly surprised with the venue. Expecting something much bigger, the size was almost perfect – not too small that the crowd didn’t resonate with those on stage and not too big that it underwhelmed the performance.
Cabbage, a five-piece boyband, were supporting. Under the flashing lights of the strobe they embodied indie-rock and did it well; from their look to their vocals, Cabbage injected a wild, punk sound into the venue. They were visibly comfortable on stage and the two vocalists Lee Broadbent and Joe Martin showed real chemistry. Cabbage were very loud (unsurprising for a gig) but sometimes this detracted from the individuality of the two guitarists, Eoghan Clifford and Asa Morley, and the bassist, Stephen Evans. Personally, I’m not a fan of the heavier rock influence they are clearly inspired by, finding some of the songs quite samey, although I do realise this comes with the genre and anyone a fan of The Sex Pistols, The Clash or early Nirvana should definitely check them out. I did particularly enjoy a slower song ‘Will to Live’ and their political awareness in some songs was quite refreshing.
When Miles Kane graced the stage, his presence was undeniable and he just oozed coolness. Although Kane hardly addressed the crowd, the music did the talking for him – and boy did it talk! Mosh pits, smiles and singing-with-gusto seemed to be mandatory for almost the entirety of the set. The crowd loved him and he loved the crowd; it actually felt quite special to witness them bouncing off each other. Nowhere was this truer than in between songs when the crowd would chant either ‘Yorkshire’ or ‘Miles Kane’ without fail. Witnessing such an informal relationship between Kane and his fans was unexpected and completely welcomed. This is especially true considering his audience were of all ages, from young teens to a much older generation, he managed to put everyone in a trance with his performance and remastered 60’s, 70’s rock sound. This sound was strongest in ‘Cry On My Guitar’ which had such a cool vibe and classic guitar instrumental. The drummer, Victoria Smith, has worked with the likes of Jamie T and M.I.A so there was no surprise to her talent in the set. The rest of the band were the calmness to Kane’s charisma and offset him in just the right way.
As a big fan of his work with Alex Turner (frontman of the Arctic Monkeys) in their duo The Last Shadow Puppets, I expected big things and Kane delivered song after song. ‘Coup De Grace’ was an expected stand out, especially when just him, the mic and the audience sang with each other in complete synchronicity at the finale of the hit song. He even managed to make some songs nostalgic and emotional, such as ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’ which was a real stand for positivity and resonated with most. It’s clear Kane is a born performer who loves what he does and I hope to be attending many more gigs with this kind of passion in the future; this was certainly one to remember.
By Amy May Ellis