KT Tunstall – Leeds
So my Forty for Forty quest quickly brought me back to my spiritual home, Leeds. I was looking forward to this gig for a few reasons, not least that I do like some of KT’s stuff, but if I am honest, I would not and could not claim to be her biggest fan.
However, there are a few elements that add to the whole picture about this singer for me that I am going to mention – So a few years ago, I scored a VIP pass at Cornbury festival – terribly rainy day, but the VIP tent was warm and dry. Around half way through the event, I was lucky enough to hang backstage with the headlining band, a certain Crowded House, led by a certain Mr Neil Finn.
It was an awesome day – but a memory of that day (aside my Finn worship) was blindly walking into a young lass backstage. Anyway, I had no idea who she was until I saw her on stage later that evening – yes, it was KT – I doubt she will even have the merest recollection, but I do!
Perhaps stemming from that day (sharing a bill with CH not walking into me), KT was invited by Neil Finn to join his 7 worlds collide part 2 session. The result of that was a 2 cd set called “The sun came out” and all proceeds went to charity. Others, including Wilco, Johnny Marr and people from Radiohead were also featured. So KT’s Finn connection may have influenced me wanting to see her too. However, that wasn’t all.
The venue was the City Varieties in Leeds. An amazing old theatre that I hadn’t been to since 1995 for, yes, you guessed it, Neil Finn and his brother Tim. It was quite an amazing night that saw a relaxed and near perfect show, followed by getting stuff signed and meeting the Finns – bliss.
So, onto the show – Row G, to the left of stage it was a pretty perfect view. The support was a fella who had been working with KT – now – he ticked most boxes for me, but sadly didn’t grab me with his music. Which was a shame, because he was a very skilled musician and he at least tried to make contact with the crowd.
KT saunted on stage around 9 to blistering applause. The stage was sparse with a cloth backdrop that I guess is her CD cover and she opened up her set with the first song from her new CD. Now there must be a stage in a singers career that they just know that they are good. More than good, they know they are flipping excellent.
Some may let it go to their head, but KT seems grounded and real. And KT is at that level of excellence – musically amazing. On most of her songs she used the loop / recording equipment to stunning effect. But more importantly for me, was how comfortable she was at engaging the crowd. So at ease in-between songs, no awkward moments, some really funny stories and it really added to the night.
As an aside, I didn’t grasp the fact that her personal life has turned to shit before I went to the gig. Why would I , she never texts me – but regardless, I wasn’t aware and the remarks throughout the night, all light hearted made me go connect the dots on the internet after the gig – Clearly, it’s been a tough time for her and hopefully, the music and the clear love of the crowd she enjoys will aide her healing process.
As ever, I didn’t keep a set list, but KT played “Black horse and the cherry tree” – which cleverly diverged into “Seven Nation Army” by the White Strypes – KT also did a stunning cover of “Boys of Summer” by Don Henley. However, it was the last track that she sung which had the most profound effect – using the loop equipment to layer her voice, it was like a chorus of angels by the end and I have to admit, I fell a bit in love with her by the end of the song.
If I had to complain about anything, it was the length of the set – just an hour and 15. Which I suppose is par for the course for a warm up, but when some of her diehard fans – such as one I met after and hopefully she got to meet KT at the stage door – had flown in from other countries to see the show, I couldn’t help but be disappointed for them.
So another show is ticked off the list. I move on to London in a couple of weeks for Viva Forever and Hard Rock calling (Kasabian and Paul Weller) thanks to free tickets from the Sun! Happy days. I will leave you with KT and “Hazel Black” from the aforementioned 7 worlds project