Review: The Last Shadow Puppets, Usher Hall

Just a bus stop away on Lothian Road, caped crusaders Batman and Superman were doing battle on the big screen at the Odeon – but enough about those lightweights. The real dynamic duo, it turned out, were to be found on the stage of the Usher Hall.

Granted, it was tight trousers not latex-tight costumes the pairing of Alex Turner and Miles Kane were sporting on Saturday night, but they displayed super powers aplenty during their sell-out gig.

Bif! The Last Shadows Puppets opened their 19-song set with Calm Like You. Bam! They followed up with punchy comeback single Bad Habits. Pow! They threw in The Age Of The Understatement, the title track from their astounding 2008 debut album.

Miles Kane, ledt, and Alex Turner, right, at the Usher Hall on Saturday night. Photograph: Ross Thompson
Miles Kane, left, and Alex Turner, right, perform as The Last Shadow Puppets at the Usher Hall on Saturday night. Photograph: Ross Thompson

It was an exhilarating opening salvo from the indie supergroup comprising an Arctic Monkey and the former frontman of The Rascals, and what followed added up to the best gig there’s been in these parts in a while – and there have been a few good ones recently.

After tearing through material from their debut and soon-to-be-released second album Everything You’ve Come To Expect, Turner and Kane returned to the stage for a three-song encore that had them dusting off their cover of The Beatles’ classic I Want You (She’s So Heavy), before closing with The Dream Synopsis and Standing Next To You.

Before all that, the early birds in attendance were rewarded with a fine supporting set from Jeff Wootton, the highly-skilled guitarist best known for his work with Damon Albarn in Gorillaz and Africa Express, and who struck out on his own last month with the release of debut album The Way The Light.

That Wootton is at the start of a solo career that looks likely to take him far will come as no surprise to anyone who knows him. Over the years, he’s worked with a number of big-name artists such as Brian Eno, Massive Attack, Noel Gallagher and Damo Suzuki from Krautrock pioneers Can.

And not for nothing. This guy is something of a music visionary, a multi-instrumentalist intent on pushing the boundaries to take guitar music places it has never been before.

On the evidence of his short but very impressive set here, the 28-year-old Mancunian has enough about him to step out of the shadow of Albarn et al and become a household name in his own right.

If you missed Wooton’s psychedelic symphonies on Saturday night, you are urged to check out his debut album at the first opportunity – you won’t be disappointed.

Read our interview with Jeff Wooton HERE

Words: Gary Flockhart