The Zodiac, Oxford
18th April 2004
Cork-born ex-Young Offender Ciaran McFeely – AKA Simple Kid – is in a jovial mood tonight at The Zodiac, the last night of his UK tour. High on a wave of popularity brought by the number 38 placing of the recently re-released single Truck On, he’s a literal – and very competent – one man band. Just him in a stetson with a guitar, harmonica, drum machine and samples, his presence, banter and humour more than make up for the lack of bodies on stage.
Simple Kid is a songsmith – not afraid to write songs about what he wants to rather than what he feels he should do, satirising today’s world and the people in it in the process. Drawing almost exclusively from his debut album 1 tonight, the narrative current single Staring At The Sun is a perfect example of his style: European wit (“Don’t let your e-go…”) wrapped up in American vocal mannerisms and post-country chords. Not afraid to touch on controversy (“I tried not to laugh when Diana was halved because it don’t make no difference to me”) or from alienating a potential target audience (reciting The Sun’s statistics about the average man in, erm, Average Man), he’s partly Beck as a shrewd urban commentator, partly a more astute and socially aware Super Furry Animals, and partly a modern Irish Ray Davies. His sound is country, rock, low-fi and even a little glam, maybe a little reliant on the harmonica at times, but quirky, refreshing and insistent.
The encore – a vocodered and eerie Hurt as a tribute to Johnny Cash, June Carter, his self-penned tribute to Johnny’s wife, and Average Man screamed with conviction over a backing of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid – expertly sums up his apparent influences. Despite scarily looking like Kevin Bacon in Tremors, Simple Kid seems to be on the ascendancy, and rightly so.
From Nightshift, May 2004