- Modern Studies
MODERN STUDIES drift meekly onto the stage, singer Emily Scott leading the way. The chamber pop and folk fourpiece gently lead us through selected songs from debut album Swell To Great – the elegant prettiness of Dive Bombing has the audience lean forward in their seats – and it’s clear that a venue as grand and sizeable at the Philharmonic is unfamiliar territory, even before Scott reveals the still filling up venue contains more people than the band have ever played to “collectively!”. The band grin happily at such a candid confession, and the audience chuckles, already won over by Scott’s voice, rich and remarkable. Modern Studies are quietly compelling, harmonies immaculate, effortlessly in tandem, Emily at one with her pedal harmonium, a more portable version of the beast used on the actual album. I’m a bit disappointed they don’t treat us to Supercool, my own personal favourite and opener on the album, but Modern Studies promise faithfully to return to Liverpool, so l hope for a rendition then. At the end of the brief thirty minutes, the band blink in shy surprise at the stomping of feet and whistles of approval, and thank “Kenny”.
Kenny of course is none other than Kenneth Anderson aka KING CREOSOTE. The Fife singer-songwriter is full of pep tonight. He’s keen to showcase the new record Astronaut Meets Appleman, and so he does, and enquires “Who here has a love life?” to a ripple of giggles, and the raising of hands en masse. He’s impressed at Liverpool’s voracious sexual appetite, and explains that he asked the same question in Manchester and got nothing. What can we say? Our friends up the M62 must be going through a dry patch, bless them. Anderson dedicates the catchy Love Life to Scarlett Johansson, who despite being on the guest list every single night hasn’t yet made an appearance (there’s still hope, Kenny, don’t give up), and all the “sex people” in the room, and insists on calling us that for the duration. There’s more tittering, each and every time, and the warmth onstage and off is clear to see; Emily from Modern Studies joins the band to harmonise at one point, and later Anderson welcomes a male audience member into his arms for a waltz. But it’s when he digs into his back catalogue that the audience comes alive properly, people around me turning giddy and offering proclamations of love, loudly.
Anderson maintains the balance between cheeky humour and melancholy well, even turning the polarised opinions within his own band over Scottish independence into a bitter sweet joke, easing, with a wry smile, into the newer Melin Wynt – Welsh for windmill, but the song itself concerned with wind farms. He imagines the wind turbines back home propelling Scotland away from England, and desperately wants to turn them around so the countries and peoples stay united, the line “don’t be the one to slam the door…I won’t let you back in” resonating on this, the day of Donald Trump’s US presidential inauguration, in more ways than one.