King Creosote opens Light On The Shore at Leith Theatre looking like a real “pop star”. Kenny Anderson (aka King Creosote) begins by keeping the audience in suspense as his five piece band play the start of You Just Want, the opening track from his latest album, Astronaut Meets Appleman, the cover of which is projected onto the back of the set. It’s all very fancy – not the usual King Creosote no frills gig.
Then Anderson arrives on stage with his acoustic guitar, but still won’t turn round. He faces his long standing, or should it be sitting, drummer, Captain Geeko (aka Andy Robinson). What’s this funny man got up his sleeve? Those who have seen King Creosote before will know he’s up to something. And then he turns around – adorned in eye make-up, looking Bowie-esque – a kind of East Neuk Ziggy Stardust. He giggles to himself along with his fellow band members. There’s a kind of half-hearted effort from the band too: Hannah Fisher on vocals/fiddle wears a NASA top and lurex skirt and tights, in keeping with the space theme. Captain Geeko is in what looks like a decorator’s white dungarees with reflective stripes. The others give the impression of deciding not to take part in Anderson’s mischievous frolics, wearing normal clothes. They enjoy his teasing (he has nicknames for nearly them all) but perhaps they drew the line with the costumes. It’s going to be a fun night. As well as excellent music, Anderson always entertains the audience with quick wit and banter. Indeed, he introduces his band members throughout the evening as “probably the best guitarist in the country” etc, much to everyone’s amusement. After starting a song in the wrong key, he laughs at himself, saying he “used to be the best front man in the country but…” The truth is, he certainly is one of them.
The audience is treated to just under an hour and a half of Anderson’s music, mostly from his most recent two albums, the aforementioned Astronaut Meets Appleman and From Scotland With Love, released in 2014 alongside the film of the same name as part of the Cultural Festival for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. For fans who know of his much bigger repertoire (over 40 albums released), he moves the audience with Bats In The Attic and Not One Bit Ashamed. The latter being introduced by Anderson singing Paul Young’s 80s classic, Come Back and Stay. Throughout the night, the tempo switches from slow, melancholic and reflective to up-beat. Largs gets everyone going and the double bass really comes into play.
You never really know what’s going to happen next with Anderson, which is part of the thrill. No encore, he tells the audience. “This is our last song.” Then the stage turns black for a few seconds before they start again. For the real last song, Anderson invites Hamish Hawk and Iain Morrison and his band to join him on stage, all taking turns at the vocals. Everyone’s revelling in this maestro – performers and audience alike. But this really is it, even if the audience does wait in hope of more, as you really can’t get enough of what’s on offer: beautifully written songs performed by an extremely tight band with the charismatic Anderson. KC has nailed it again! The perfect opening night.