I must confess that, except for a special few, like Simon and Garfunkel, I am not a lover of most of the acoustic guitar folk-rock music out there. Sure I don't mind singing along to a few tunes as they play over the airwaves but to sit through an entire set can be painfully boring. That said, there's something about KT Tunstall's hit "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" that evoked me to purchase her CD. Eye To The Telescope didn't disappoint, offering an eclectic mix of folky pop, with lyrical sensibility, definitely something I can groove to at home on a quiet evening. But would there be enough "oomph" in KT's live performance to keep me up for the whole show, especially after a substantial turkey dinner?
There's been a lot of international buzz about this Scottish songstress and judging from the line up that wrapped around the building; Canadians are well in the loop. The gig was sold out, to a mostly female crowd, speckled with a few men, who looked less than thrilled to be there.
Kevin Devine, a New Yorker, pulled up on stage and did his thing, busker style with nothing more than a guitar, weird songs and weirder spastic "dance" moves. His band sauntered on, stood around for a while then proceeded to play a few decent tracks from Devine's Put Your Ghosts to Rest.
To elated cheers from the crowd, Tunstall strolled onto to centre stage and opened with the attitude filled "Another Place To Fall". With her sweet Scottish twang, KT welcomed all and launched into her "Other Side of the World". This angst filled chronicle of long distance relationships, reminded us all that they just don't work. Although Tunstall's latest singles "Suddenly I See" and "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree", got the best reception, with everyone clapping along, her entire set rocked. Watching her perform a gorgeous, haunting rendition of my favourite track, "Silent Sea", which was almost ruined by a couple of howlers upstairs, was beautiful. We were even treated to two new tunes "Ashes" and "One Day" from the upcoming Acoustic Extravaganza.
Backed by her multitalented band, who played everything from your standard guitar and keyboard to horns, cello and even a garbage can lid, KT kept us all tapping and swaying. Her friendly banter between songs revealed her ease on stage, whether it was introducing the next number; "If you're on a date, now's a good time to (gesturing to put your arm around)"; putting a PG warning out; "I see a little one in the front row. Dad, you may want to cover her ears for this." or just singing her own praises; "This song got me to the top of the UK line dancing chart and I can't even line dance."
I was completely won over by Tunstall's musical proficiency, as she easily switched up guitars, then took up the drums and eventually headed up to the piano for "Through the Dark".
The only other weird moment, besides the whole opening act, was the encore performance of the Flaming Lips "She Don't Use Jelly". The rendition itself was well done and ended the evening with a bit of wit. However the side act of some guy with a fake blood contraption strapped to himself as he smeared it over his exposed chest was disgustingly weird, but at least I wasn't bored.
Writer: Lisa Kerr