Rebecca Sowray falls in love with the Kloot.
I am Kloot at The Picturedome, Holmfirth
26th April 2013
We’ve driven west to east, to just the right side of the Pennines. The journey has been horrendous, complete with armageddon ready traffic jams. Cynicism and misery compete as we get later and later. But in Holmfirth there’s a clear blue sky and hail stones the size of golf balls on the ground. The pre gig fluttering feeling has me as we approach the Picturedome.
The former cinema, like all conversions, lifts the mood to high; suggests there is hope in every error. A structure both cement rendered and brick, with main doors from another century gives a strong and diverse visual. It stands marooned by the flow of roads. That you get in through what seems to be the back door adds to the sense of happy delinquency.
The faux presence of recorded music removes the panic that I might, for the first time, have missed the support. ‘Ralfe Band’ spelled in white painted letters on a black cloth and stuck to the keyboard does not, for an instant, make me question where I find my lunatic faith in all things live.
The move from cinema to venue (and periodically back again – they show films too) is at once self-conscious and startling. You can see what has been easily – the combination of form and function is exciting. Staring at the fabulous barrel vaulted ceiling gives me a good excuse to gaze around more widely.
There’s a good crowd, mostly round the bar. A few people cluster by the stage. My best watching place for any stage, off centre and three or four people back, is free. By now I’m ready to do three circuits of the place kissing everyone in sight. I won’t though as I’m every bit as serious as all the serious, sexy people here.
Ralfe Band, the support, are pretty damn fine, if thin on numbers with just the two of them. They draw the audience in quickly with the joke of government cuts that removed their drummer. Oly Ralfe has an open talkative manner and a resonant voice that sits oddly with the MySpace write up of them as alternative lounge gothic, whatever that might mean. For me it’s a happy balance between guitar lines with lyrics that run through layers of expansive abstraction.
The place fills up as Ralfe Band work through their set. My boots are rooted here for although everyone is very nice about it there’s that definition of territory thing going on. The man in front of me has DMs shinier than mine, a band t shirt, and black rimmed glasses. It’s a very earnest look and shared by large chunks of the audience. It’s good to be standing with the proper fans. (Even if I do feel like an impostor.)
As John Bramwell leads the currently five piece line up out all these serious, earnest people shift somehow; a leap of fan faith. Kloot are playing Liverpool tomorrow and I feel already that these fans will make this the better gig.
They open with These Days are Mine and I’m a convert. This song gets into me; the physical presence of live music that makes such a different memory to a recording. Clearly the band are the ones that can afford the plain black shirts, other than John Bramwell for he’s splashed out on a patterned one. He confesses to not wearing his glasses. A member of the audience has a mouth on him and shouts – “This isn’t Holmfirth” and John plays along, certain of a following here that have been with them a while. Another shout of there are no gorillas in Holmfirth either. I wouldn’t say many of the beards have gone that far.
I am Kloot have presence; a gentle confidence; self-awareness with a nice helping of introspection. I will remain seduced by their lyrics which carry many an invisibly handled and contrasting metaphor. As a whole they are a super fine balance of technical skill and heart crushing bittersweet.
The end, when they end, comes too fast, which I’m guessing is a good thing. The place empties quickly, with that last train running down the hill feeling. If I’d had half a mind beforehand I’d have had a shot of those front doors which aren’t really. So I’ll just have to go back, some other day.
(With masses of thanks to @IamKlootClub who @ replied with a copy of the playlist, confirming my wonky notes.)