IRA bombs, Glasto rants and heckled by Morris Dancers

I Am Kloot’s Johnny Bramwell still has a lot to say, writes Tony Dewhurst

Saturday, 22nd February 2014, 12:00 pm
I Am Kloots Johnny Bramwell
I Am Kloots Johnny Bramwell

A Johnny Bramwell solo show is more than a musical experience.

So expect rants about the music business, the commercialization of Glastonbury, even getting heckled by Morris Dancers at Heptonstall Beer Festival… and some corking songs too.

“There’s more of a relaxed vibe about this one-man tour.

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“I pack my acoustic guitar in the carboot with a pile of I Am Kloot vinyl and off we go,” said head Kloot Bramwell, who brings his solo show to Clitheroe next Friday.

That’s not to say one of Manchester’s most loved musical arrangers has lost any of the stripped down, emotionally charged energy, writing songs about life’s bruisings and romantic woes that has fired the boilers of I Am Kloot for the last 15 years.

“I’m a pretty edgy guy, and playing live is my elixir of life,” he added.

“A gig is that powerful human connection and it matters a great deal to me that I do it well every time.

“I feel relief, satisfaction and elation after a performance. It is one of the most important things I do in life and sometimes I don’t want it to end. If I don’t play live once a week I get a serious serotonin depletion and feel quite down.

“There’s a pathway to the world through music and the thrill of that can’t be bought.”

Often compared to The Beatles and The Kinks, I Am Kloot deal in the kind of disarming, poetic pop that has you humming on the first listen as though you’ve known them all your life.

Later this year, the band’s sparse and beautiful sound will provide the incidental music to BBC documentary, Louder Than Bombs.

“I was driving into Manchester the day the IRA bombed the city and I heard the explosion, so it is pretty weird we are involved in the film musically, “ he added.

“Bernard Hill, who played Yozzer Hughes from Boys from the Blackstuff is in it, and the film deals with the aftermath of the bombing, how it affected people and the way it changed the city.”

Let It All In is I Am Kloot’s sixth studio album, following on from 2010’s Sky At Night, which was nominated for the Mercury Prize.

This one, also produced by Elbow’s Guy Garvey, is another Kloot classic.

“Playing I Am Kloot stuff solo is magical. I’ve had an incredible reaction up and down the land,” said Johnny.

“I play for seventy minutes, dipping in and out of all our albums, and then I do a request slot.

“I love seeing a crowd’s reaction, and I suppose what I’m doing is as far away from something like X-Factor as you can get. I do find that depressing that some kids have grown up thinking that is what music is all about.

“You have to go your own way. Make your own mind up. Don’t be told. Openness. Absorb. A hunger. A yearning.

“In the 1980s, the worst thing you could be was a soloist with an acoustic guitar.

“Now it is hip again.”

An evening with I Am Kloot’s Johnny Bramwell, February 28. Support from Dave Fidler. £15. 01200 421599.