ANYONE who caught a riveting set from Miles Kane at Leeds Festival this year might have been mistaken for thinking he was touting for his own Persil commercial.
On a weekend when persistent rained turned the Bramham Park site into a chocolate lake the former Rascals and Last Shadow Puppets man opted to arrive in white jeans.
“You know how I roll,” laughs the young Liverpudlian with more than a passing resemblance to a young McCartney. “I’ve got them on today, weirdly. They survived.”
Although the sponsorship deal with a washing powder giant didn’t come off, certainly the chatty chap didn’t soil his reputation in any sense.
After showing his solo hand earlier this year with a tour that took him to The Leadmill, he returns there tomorrow having released one of the year’s more enjoyable and, perhaps, unexpected albums and planted his firmly flag in the ground as a genuine star.
On the NME Stage in Leeds he came out pumped up and swaggering like a cross between Liam Gallagher – he did work with the Manchester one’s brother in the early stages of the record – and one-time boxing show-off Prince Naseem.
“It’s hard to explain it. It’s the best feeling ever... I can’t really say much more than that,” he says, before doing exactly that.
“Any gig, you’ve got to go out there and bring the vibe, especially at a festival where you never know what to expect.
“When it’s your gig and it’s sold out you know they are there to see you. At festivals a lot are just there to check you out. They may not buy a ticket for you so you’ve got to go on there and those people who may not like you... I want to convince them.
“You’ve got to show you love playing these songs, either take it or leave it. That’s the way you’ve got to play it.
“After what you’ve done and it’s been a great year, it gives you confidence. That’s what comes out when you’re performing.”
Then Miles has plenty to be happy about. Having taken a little of the Scouse nous of The Rascals, some of the youthful elegance of his Puppets project with Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner and threaded it together with a modern nod to some vintage influences, Miles delivered Colour Of The Trap – a record that is cool, cunning, and as likely to kick your legs away as dance off with your girlfriend.
“I hadn’t gigged one of these songs until the album was done but when making the record I was making sure in a way the choruses were big and catchy and a lot of the songs stem from the drums, that grooving thing where it pumps along.
“That helps it live. When we play a song like Counting Down The Days it’s got this anthemic feel. The melodies and guitar sound... a lot of it stems from those records I love from the ’60s and ’70s and you put your own stamp on it.”
With the help of co-writer Gruff Rhys, of Super Furry Animals fame, Dan The Automator in San Francisco and Joan Of Arc on guest vocals, he arguably achieved all of that.
The last time we spoke to Miles he was chatting like a hurricane, super anxious to get the message across. Now there’s a calmness to this amiable Merseysider who has come through the other side.
“It feels like it’s been so busy. Reading and Leeds were the best festivals we did. They felt like a step up the ladder. This tour I think we’re going to notice it again.
“The songs excite me so much and the buzz that I’m getting and the band get when we play is ridiculous. Each gig I do, even now, I feel I’m getting more of a buzz off it.”
For shows Miles is joined by a well-chosen group of musicians, including Jay Sharrock from The Sand Band on drums, singer-songwriter Eugene McGuinness on vocals/rhythm guitar and Ben Parsons and Phil Anderson from Cherry Ghost on keyboards and bass guitar.
“Live we’re mixing it up a bit and adding little jams, little freak outs, maybe extend the beginning of a couple,” says Miles, who is no slouch on the guitar himself.
“A guitar solo some nights I might play different because I feel it. Jack White or Jeff Beck would never play a solo the same... you just go off the vibe happening that night. It’s not like a routine, it’s different each night.”
And that includes shows such as the two June ones he did with those Arctic Monkeys at Don Valley Bowl. His joining them on stage inevitably raised a question over whether Shadow Puppets part two was on the horizon.
“It always is, every week when we speak. It’s always talked about and we’ll just ride the wave when it’s right. The Puppets will be there for when the time is right and we’ll do it again.
“But it was a great weekend, that. Great to be with Al and the boys. The crowd had a lot of love for us. But at the moment I’m just enjoying this.”
And Miles isn’t likely to be straying for a while.
“It’s good to know we have converted a lot of people with this album, to know you started from scratch and went out and played these little clubs and built it up.
“We took time to make sure there wasn’t a dodgy track, a weak link, and the record handed in was done to the best of our ability – couldn’t have sung or played any better.
“That’s what gets you through in anything.
“My dream was to have a top 10 album and I got to number 11, thanks to Bruno Mars who sold 50 or something.
“To do what we’re doing and the size of venues on this tour, to sell them out was my dream. Just to build and get people believing in it when you’ve made the record you wanted to make... it’s gonna be banging.”