Scottish songstress KT Tunstall raised the roof off The Sage in Gateshead last Wednesday night.
Bouncing onto the stage to tumultuous applause from a sell out crowd, Scottish songstress KT Tunstall raised the roof off The Sage in Gateshead last Wednesday night.
Kicking off the evening with a lively rendition of her hit ‘If Only’ from her 2007 album, Drastic Fantastic, KT delighted the audience with her infectious charisma and undeniable talent for almost two whole hours, playing songs from her entire back catalogue.
Having first exploded onto the music scene back in 2004 after performing her first single, ‘Black Horse and the Cherry Tree’ on the Jools Holland show, KT’s prowess as a singer songwriter has only gone from strength to strength. Her catchy melodies and rocky vocals have earned her not only the respect of the critics, but a fiercely loyal global fan base.
Now onto her fifth studio album, KT has grown as an artist with each record she’s made. Drawing on influences from the likes of Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac, her latest musical offering, Kin is a collection of gritty, heartfelt, pop-rock songs, which in KT’s words, were written “by accident” at a time when she was supposed to be on hiatus from music.
The album’s title track, ‘Kin’ is a gorgeously sentimental ballad about the love that you feel for the people around you after they have helped you through a difficult time, which is KT’s discreet way of acknowledging some of the tragedies which have marred her personal life in recent years.
Her emotional, stripped-back performance of the track on the night, which involved just a lone spotlight and her signature Gibson Dove semi-acoustic guitar, was for me, one of the stand-out performances of the entire show.
Another show-defining moment came later in the evening, when KT was once again alone with just an acoustic guitar and she played her single ‘Invisible Empire’ from her last studio album.
With a much more traditional folk vibe to it, KT explained that the track was inspired by the landscape of the great desert plains that she saw whilst on a road-trip across America following her Father’s passing. The raw emotion instilled into her acoustic performances compared to the boundless energy injected into the rest of the show silenced the crowd, and left everybody feeling more than a little bit spellbound.
Although KT managed to pack a lot into her set, the show didn’t stop when the music did. In-between songs, KT regaled the crowd with an array of funny anecdotal stories about her life, both professional and personal, as well as an interesting range of facts. “Anyone who follows me on my socials will know, I love facts, even facts that aren’t true!” she told the crowd, before reeling off a string of increasingly bizarre facts about the Octopus, leaving the crowd helpless with laughter before launching into her next song.
As the saying goes however, all good things must come to an end, and following fantastic renditions of her hits ‘Saving my Face’ and ‘Black Horse and the Cherry Tree’ (which somehow managed to segway into a kazoo solo-led cover of The White Stripes’ classic ‘Seven Nation Army’ half way through,) the show came to a spectacular close with a standing ovation from the crowd.
Naturally, we all screamed for more, and KT graciously obliged with not one, but three encores, eventually ending the night once she had everybody up and dancing with her smash hit single ‘Suddenly I See’.
As a venue, The Sage was built for artists like KT Tunstall, the unparalleled acoustics of the building lent themselves perfectly to KT’s signature sound and made for a spectacular night of music. KT herself even commented on how much she loved the venue, which she affectionately described as a: “shiny space bubble.”
Well, the ‘shiny space bubble’ loved you too KT. Come back soon!
Leanne Tonks for Review & Photo