Kingtree @ Ruby Lounge, Manchester

December 13, 2007

A small crowd huddles around the front of the stage to watch only the second ever Kingtree show, a set which served to prove that the songwriting prowess demonstrated on the original, self-produced, demos can and will ultimately translate into an arresting live show.

King Tree - so good, I joined his band.

King Tree - so good, I joined his band.

Direct songs with quick tempo, such as ‘The River Ghost’ and the aptly-named ‘Hooked’ -which always reminds me of ‘Blister In The Sun’ by the Violent Femmes – are extremely catchy (I tried my hardest, but I can’t avoid that clichéd word – they just are) and will ultimately compel bigger and more attentive crowds than this. A few careless ya-ya’s at the back gas and gossip whilst the big fella on stage opens up his heart and pours out a rich veinful of melody.

At this stage in Kingtree’s development, the delicately phrased vocals and rhythmically punchy guitar are present and correct, but delivered with the shyness of a man emerging blinking into the public eye, after years spent secretively honing his songs at home.

The droning open tunings deployed, along with the quick-strummed guitar attack sometimes used, actually pitch Kingtree closer to an acoustic Thurston Moore than your common or garden strummer and I for one would be fascinated to see how this music worked with a few extra instruments. Given some electric guitar, bass and brushed drums, these songs could really jump.

But even solo and at the point of his first ever half-hour show, the tremulous, beautifully poised closer ‘Blue Heart’ proves that this is a songwriting talent to believe in.

Baby steps, baby steps, but mighty oaks have grown from far less sturdy saplings than this.


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