King Creosote @ Leith Theatre, Edinburgh, 9 Aug

King Creosote delivers a warm set that tends towards the peppier moments in his discography in a perfect opening night for the Edinburgh International Festival's Light on the Shore gig series

Live Review by Max Sefton | 10 Aug 2018

Tonight the Leith Theatre is finally reborn. Backing on to Leith Library, the theatre opened in 1932 and closed its doors again in the late eighties but now with a bit of tender loving care from an astonishingly dedicated group of activists and enthusiasts, it's ready to shine once more. Strung with lights and treated to a fresh lick of paint, its open doors beckon in a host of music lovers to an evening that showcases one of the nation's most talented singer-songwriters. 

After the success of the Hidden Door festival and an extensive renovation project, the veritable old venue will be hosting sixteen nights as part of the Edinburgh International Festival's Light on the Shore strand, showcasing a who’s who of Scottish musical talent (Mogwai, Lau, The Jesus and Mary Chain) alongside more leftfield fare like legendary Jamaican dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson and a disco hosted by Alan Cumming. If it’s a success, the hope is that the Leith Theatre will endure as a creative hub, bringing in the best Scottish and international talent to an area of town desperately in need of a larger venue.

Across the water from his hometown in Anstruther, it's Fife's King Creosote who has the honour of taking the first curtain call and the venue is already packed in time for his support acts Hamish Hawk and Iain Morrison.

A few years ago, multiple record releases per year was not usual for KC (aka Kenny Anderson) but tonight he plays a warm set that tends toward the peppier moments in his discography. His songs about travel, loss and longing have endeared him to more than one generation of Scots and tonight he's on fine form, smeared in gold glitter paint and backed by a veritable supergroup of musical talent including guitarist Sorren Maclean and Hannah Fisher on fiddle.

Introducing each of his five backing musicians as the finest in Scotland, Anderson is keen to share the love and the audience obviously feel the same way, cheering his wry croon of 'Growing silver in my sideburns, I'm starting to unravel' on the gorgeous Bats in the Attic. A particular standout comes in the form of Betelgeuse from 2016's Astronaut meets Appleman which matches Anderson's typically evocative lyricism to one of his strongest ever tunes with its call to 'Fix the shortest month / Fix my magnetic north / Oh my bipolar crash, squeezed the arctic air out of my lungs.'

Later in the set he's joined by both of his support acts onstage to chip in a verse each as the band build to a grand finale. It’s a fitting ending for a new venue that aspires to be a place of community. As his spaceman logo beams above the stage, everyone leaving the Theatre hopes this is the beginning of something special.