Keane live, review: De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, September 20

Keane. Picture by Alex Lake
Keane. Picture by Alex Lake

Good Cause and plenty of Effect – Keane confirm that Music’s Not Dead with a sell-out homecoming gig.

Some 1,964 days have passed since the release of Keane’s last studio album, Strangeland, and even the most devout of followers must have had their faith tested during the hiatus.

However, they received their just rewards on a balmy Friday evening at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, during a special ‘instore’ show for Music’s Not Dead.

Inside there was the anticipatory buzz and chatter circling around as we settled to hear Cause & Effect, Keane’s latest offering, played in its entirety to coincide with the album release date (September 20).

A few moments longer, then the Boys from Battle were welcomed onto the stage with a raucous reception.

The first track was ‘You’re Not Home’, a textural song that builds, but not one to get an instant payback from the audience here. That said, it didn’t seem to matter. Once Tom Chaplin spoke for the first time we sensed the crowd’s desire to unleash their pent-up admiration and emotion, and we all took a sigh of relief, including the band. He fulfils his role as front-man well does Tom, and at this gig the singer adeptly turned an emotional plea of ‘love you Tom’ from a fan to his advantage, thanking his ‘mum’ for her continued support. The gig was streamed out to an internet audience and, make no mistake, Keane mean business with this new record and tour, which is perfectly understandable.

If Keane had been accused of producing anodyne but melodic indie music when they first arrived on the scene, this new collection of songs stands to illustrate that they have lived a little since. The mood and lyrical content have more depth and there is a narrative about the harshness of a marital breakdown in ‘Stupid Thing’.

The first single ‘The Way I Feel’ is more up-tempo. It’s a well constructed foot-tapper of a track with a hefty hook, notwithstanding the recent comparisons to The Killers in the music press, with an enjoyable cadence over the lyric ‘A broken link, a missing part, a punctured wheel’. It offers more dynamics in the sound levels, which allowed the lighting crew tonight more scope to earn their crust. However, this moment felt in too short supply.

‘I’m Not Leaving’ is the other standout track on the album for me, with a Fender Rhodes like piano riff and falsetto chorus hook.

As the last track rang out I thought: ‘what have we learned’? Well, Cause & Effect is a more mature offering and, based upon the crowd’s response, it will be a success. Keane’s upcoming tour is selling out fast.

So here begins a new chapter for these likeable lads, and while it wasn’t a cheap experience for an hour’s music, the crowd went away happy, even if one did actually get ‘a punctured wheel’ on his way home.

Cause & Effect is available to purchase now. Visit www.keanemusic.com or follow the band on Twitter or Facebook.

Stuart Large is a freelance writer and reviewer. Follow him on Twitter @boyaboutsound.

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