Synth pop singer back from hiatus with Craufurd Arms punk-rock show

Basildon’s purveyor of “partially sexy, partially morbid” pop is back, on tour and with another campaign to take the Christmas top spot.

Monday, 6th December 2021, 10:10 pm
Updated Monday, 6th December 2021, 10:14 pm
K on stage at the Craufurd Arms.

It’s been five years since this singer who we really can’t name last headlined the Craufurd Arms in Milton Keynes as part of his farewell tour.

In the time between, the Basildon purveyor of synth pop published his autobiography, How I Became (and remained) A Minor Internet Hit Singer and last year disrupted the Official Singles Chart at Christmas with a sweary ode about the PM.

The song eventually reached number five, despite receiving no airplay from traditional broadcasters and being barely referenced in the festive chart run down.

K on stage at the Craufurd Arms. Photo by David Jackson.

The subject of publishing profanities is a simple one. We all know they exist, we know blogs will publish anything and even some national newspapers will take a somewhat liberal approach to certain words.

However, when it comes to regional media publications like this you don’t. And it’s certainly not going to change for this review.

With that in mind, on Sunday night the artist we’ll just call K from here on in, came out of a live hiatus and headed to Milton Keynes for the first date of a short tour.

This was however, unlike any show K’s legions of fans had seen before because this time, the iPod shuffle had been traded in for a live drummer, bassist and guitarist.

K on stage at the Craufurd Arms. Photo by David Jackson.

During the Kickstarter campaign to fund his autobiography, K had promised to put a live band together for a more distorted punk rock romp through some of his best-known hits and remaining true to his word, lined up a six-date tour across the UK.

The gigs are also being used to promote a forthcoming assault on the UK Official Singles Chart this Christmas with another song about Boris.

Mid gig, K explained to the 200+ fans inside of the Craufurd Arms that he’d “ummed and erred” over whether to go ahead with another attempt to infiltrate the Christmas charts, concluding “he’s a big tree trunk and you don’t knock him down in one go – you have to keep chopping.”

Opening for K were a band we can name! Northampton’s Spring Park who put in a solid set of punk rock ahead of the headliners.

Spring Park on stage at the Craufurd Arms. Photo by David Jackson.

As was the case in 2016, there remains little which can be published regarding the content of K’s 14-song set.

However, there was a song about the loneliness of staying in hotels while on tour, why men with beards shouldn’t be trusted, a song about Brexit, a new song about the Queen, one about his granddad’s favourite expletive and a story about his paperboy.

Almost everyone inside the Craufurd Arms was already well versed on the content of K’s back catalogue, ensuring the night was one mass crude, comedic sing-along.

This is only really the tip of the iceberg with even vague descriptions of other antics during the night are impossible to recount - if you want more detail, you’re going to have to just go to one of the remaining dates!

Regarding how well these songs translated from their synth pop origins to punk-rock is a trickier one.

One of K’s charms is a genuine talent of being able to meld comedy and unrepeatable lyrics into a traditional pop song format.

As soon as you wrap that around a much louder distorted sound with drums, some of the nuances of the lyrics do get lost a little to the uninitiated.

Having joked about the finances of touring with three other members rather than just with an iPod earlier in the gig however, it’s probably a safe bet that one day, K will be back performing solo.

For now though, fans are just happy to see him back on a stage and again, attempting to upset the apple cart.

In fact, I challenge anyone to make it through all three minutes and 29 seconds of Ed Sheeran and Elton John’s Christmas song and not come away thinking K is offering a more appealing alternative.