Miles Kane at the Academy, Dublin, 3rd March 2014
It can’t be easy to be friends with Alex Turner. The Arctic Monkeys frontman is comfortable in his position at the top of his profession looking down at a sea of pretenders to his throne. His ability makes him a darling for critics and an icon for fans.
To his friends and collaborators he must be one of those annoyingly talented people who find success in everything they do. It’s hard to break away from their shadow and every attempt at pursuing your own career trajectory is compared to his. Miles Kane is both – they worked together in Last Shadow Puppets and on Kane’s first album – and is trying defiantly to emerge from the Sheffielder’s shadow.
As Kane enters the Academy stage he is dressed in a blue silk shirt, tight white trousers and heeled shoes. He seems to aiming for a Mick Jagger look, but comes across a little closer to Marc Almond. But, as he launches into the energetic Inhaler, he leaves no doubt that he is a rockstar.
It’s a show full of high kicks – he may not be quite as agile as David Lee Roth circa 1984, but we give him points for effort – and stage swagger. He has a foul mouth and ‘come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough’ swagger borrowed from Liam Gallagher. He also has an ego. “This is for the girls,” he says as before breaking into First of My Kind half way through the show.
With all this bravado thrown into the mix, it’s important that to have talent to back it up. Thankfully, Kane does. He is a better guitarist live than he appears on record and, even though he only has a two album back catalogue, every song he plays seems to pay off.
Along with Inhaler and First of My Kind, Better Than That – think Pump it Up by Elvis Costello with a more Beatles-style guitar – is a highlight of the early exchanges, and the crowd eat it up without question. When he reaches to the crowd, they stretch every sinew to make contact. When he puts out a call, they respond. When he says jump, they ask how high.
The real highlight comes with a one, two, three combo of My Fantasy, Tonight and Give Up. Kane doesn’t take a moment to rest in between as The Academy is assaulted with a barrage of drums and guitars. The lights too, raise the pulse of all those present. With the strobes and reds and blues, it’s like an epilepsy inducing 3D picture from the ‘90s.
Kane make the bold move breaking down Give Up half way through. The drums continue but Kane puts his guitar down and steps away from mic, giving the crowd a ‘so what?’ look. Screams come from all corners and gaps start to appear in the crowd for the anticipated mosh when the beat hits again.
Kane keeps them waiting though, segueing into Sympathy for the Devil. It eventually returns to Give Up with Kane playing call and response with the line “You’re pretty good looking but I’m looking for a way out” before the venue explodes again with the shout of “Give up”.
You can’t help but thinking that Miles Kane has the potential, the persona and the swagger to be playing larger venues in the near future. This Academy show is evidence of that. The problem for him, however, is that he lacks a truly distinctive sound and the songs to warrant an open air venue. If he finds them, he may well emerge from Alex Turner’s shadow.
Miles Kane Photo Gallery
Photos: Dave Kelly