If ever an artist deserved a sold-out venue, King Creosote was it.
The man born Kenneth Anderson in Fife in 1967 has paid his dues, racking up 40-odd albums over the last two decades, never courting the fickle winds of fashion and quietly cultivating a cult following as the de facto leader of the Scottish alt-folk movement’s Fence Collective.
2012’s Diamond Mine, a sparkling collaboration with electronic producer and Brian Eno protégé Jon Hopkins, changed things, earning a Mercury Prize nomination and the favour of the British broadsheets, so instead of playing alone to 15 people in a Belfast bar as he did in 2006, here he is in front of 300 people, with no less than five bandmates.
That back-up provided plenty of energy and pulled the sound in various directions away from pure folk. They opened with the driving For One Night Only, while the rollicking folk-rock workouts recalled The Waterboys among others, and there was even a little cha cha cha for spice.
But when Anderson let the tender beauty of his songwriting shine brightly, he was at his best. Not One Bit Ashamed was one example, its lilting melody sensitively complemented by cello and piano. Something To Believe In was even more affecting, a fine showcase for Anderson’s reedy, characterful voice, while the storytelling John Taylor’s Month Away was full of grace and poise.
As far as King Creosote is concerned, the songs and the songwriter remain the stars.