Kelley Stoltz - Brixton Academy, London, 9/12/2010

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 4 / 12 / 2010

Kelley Stoltz - Brixton Academy, London, 9/12/2010

Anthony Strutt at the Brixton Academy in London watches New York-based singer-songwriter Kelley Stoltz play an impressive support slot for his favourite band of all time, Echo and the Bunnymen


This is the second time that I have seen Kelley Stoltz in just over a week. He is one of the nicest guys that you can ever wish to meet, but apart from that he has real talent too. Born in 1971, and living in Michigan before he moved to New York, where he looked after Jeff Buckley's fan mail in his management office, Kelley started his real job in music back in 1999 when he released his first album, 'The Past Was Faster'. Another album, 'Antique Dial', followed two years later in 2001 and then later on that year came the album that introduced me to his work, 'Crockodials', his cover version album of Echo and the Bunnymen's 1980 debut 'Crocodiles'. While he is a massive fan of the Bunnymen, he didn't do it just the way that the band had done it. He introduced the Bunnymen's own influences into it giving much more depth and soul to it. He is now up to album number eight, 'To Dreamers', which has just been released on Sub Pop, his label for a number of years now. When I last saw him a week previously at the Borderline, he was the support slot to Stephanie Finch. He was also a member of her band too, the Company Men, where he played drums rather well. As the support for Stephanie he played for an hour. Tonight his set is just half of that, but he is playing to an audience whom should and do immediately love him, as he is supporting Echo and the Bunnymen, who are showcasing what they call a masterclass in rock and roll and playing their first two albums, 'Crocodiles', and 1981's 'Heaven Up Here' back to back. He begins by introducing himself and tells us he is pleased to play with his favourite band of all time and a story about his mother making him a 'Rescue'-sleeved birthday cake when he was fourteen years old. His first two tracks are older numbers, while the third is 'Do You Want to Rock 'n' Roll With Me?' which comes from 'To Dreamers'. It is, like, a lot of the new album, garage rock-flavoured with a touch of extra sax. 'Heavy Heart' is a 60's psychedelic number with Beatles like twists. 'Fire Escape' is a favourite of mine, bubblegum psychedelia with throwaway lyrics, like the best of the 13th Floor Elevators or Sky Saxon's the Seeds. 'Keep the Flame' is like a 60's version of a Bunnymen track, with Kelley's guitar work recalling that of the Bunnymen's Will Sergeant. 'I Remember You Were Wise' is sung for his girlfriend, while the last number is a Velvet Underground-style number with added sax. You can tell throughout his set that Kelley is as excited as us at the thought of seeing his favourite band blow us away, which they most certainly did.

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