Edinburgh Cas Rock
After years spent in indie's wilderness, it's not surprising that tonight seems less a gig and more an act of defiance against an indifferent music scene...More on
"I wish we had some happy songs," he mock-sighs at one point, peering into the tiny crowd, "but we don't." As if he needed them. Each of Kelly's country-tinged, camp-fire homilies glow like long-lost classics, each careworn melody recalling Neil Young at his most plaintive and Dylan at his least guarded. Witness 'Long Time Walking' and 'I'll Be Yours', the latter a heart-fluttering paean to true love that casts a knowing shadow over alt-country's smug output.
And while Kelly and his band's quieter moments seem effortless in their simplicity, it's their rawer, rockier numbers that truly triumph. So maybe Kelly is tinged by a little cynicism, his enthusiasm dampened by years of apathy. Is it any wonder? After all, music this great cries out to be heard. Long may he strum.
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday