Carling Academy Islington, February 25th

Tom Chaplin has a great voice. I spend the first few minutes of the gig trying to figure out why it seems so familiar. Could it be that it's so instantly impressive that it sounds like it's always been here? Or that it swoops and soars through the piano-driven, epic pop-rock with such precision that it feels perfectly at home in my head and heart? Then it hits me - I realise I've heard it before. Or rather it's much-removed older, wiser big brother.

Save for the lack of guitars, Keane sound uncannily like Puressence. Manchester's lost band have been knocking out criminally ignored albums for what seems like years, and lead singer James Mudriczki performs all the same vocal gymnastics as Keane's front man. The almost "classical" vocal style of both singers instantly seperates them from the crowd, but whereas Puressence's sound is distinctly full-to-the brim electric, Keane pare it right back to just piano and drums to provide the musical backdrop to the songs lyrical dramas.

And along with Tom, it's the music that is the star tonight. Banging away at the keys, Tim Rice-Oxley conjurs waves of rolling piano that completely fill the hole you would expect to be left by a lack of axes. Whilst the vocals are, at times, melancholic the piano really lifts the heart providing a powerful emotional kick.

However, whilst the songs are great individually, it all begins to sound a little same-y. They haven't quite mastered the "stage presence" part of the job, just yet, it's a little difficult to rock-out behind a piano and Tom seems a little nervous on-stage. Someone really should tell him his tracky top is a couple of sizes too small as well. But, given time they'll get there.

And they're going to get quite a bit more than 15 minutes. It's fairly obvious that Keane are going to be huge, I'm just going to have to bite my tongue so I don't start ranting about Puressence every time someone mentions them!

Hear 3 Keane live tracks on Radio 6 :
Everyone's Changing | Bedshaped | Bend & Break

SET LIST: Can't Stop Now, Everybody's Changing, Your Eyes Open, Sunshine, Bend And Break, We Might As Well Be Strangers, Snowed Under, She Has No Time, Somewhere Only We Know, ENCORE : Allemande, This Is The Last Time, Bedshaped

Richy [ February 26th, 2004 ]

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