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Kt Tunstall @ Civic Hall, Wolverhampton
Wednesday, 9TH APRIL 2008
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Kt Tunstall @ Civic Hall, Wolverhampton

Having spent months working in tiny venues hidden away in Birmingham pubs, I felt quite spoilt covering a gig at Wolverhampton’s big and proud Civic Hall. Whilst my heart remains dedicated to unsigned bands, tonight was a refreshing change from my comfort zone. KT Tunstall is well established with a string of top 40 hits and three albums behind her. The quality of her folk rock genre sets her high above many other UK female soloists in terms of prestige and recognition, and her dedication to ecological issues has earned her great respect as an influential figure. Mid-tour, she came to Wolverhampton hot on the back of her latest album Drastic Fantastic.

Her band consisted of four other musicians, playing an impressive range of strings, brass, keys and procussion, along with two talented backing singers. Lead guitar was played by KT Tunstall, as it is on her current album. The set was illuminated by an impressive lights display (well done to the lighting engineer), largely a mix of clean white and blue spots or up lights. KT was dressed in tight white jeans and a top teamed with a simple black waistcoat. No fancy costume changes were needed for this woman to make an impression, and the only thing changed after each track was the massive array of guitars, stock piled up at the side of the stage with a capable roadie.

KT Tunstall performed a range of tracks, primarily from her new album, but also including favourites from her first, such as ‘Suddenly I See’. In addition to this, she played tracks from her acoustic album, especially notable was ‘Ashes’ where she was joined at the front of the stage by the band to perform it in its true intensity. The most passionate performances were ‘Hold On’ and ‘Beauty of Uncertainty’ where the audience was spellbound by the power of KT Tunstall’s dreamy voice drifting through the crowd. More upbeat pieces, such as ‘If Only’ and ‘Saving My Face’ had the masses bouncing happily and singing along heartily.

KT Tunstall also performed solo and acoustic to ‘Black Horse and the Cherry Tree’ and ‘Paper Aeroplane’. Although she was alone on stage for these two tracks, her strong presence filled the stage. Despite mainly dancing on the spot with her guitar, she looked far from lost. To the contrary, she looked perfectly at home, and the power of her personality and talent could have easily filled twice the gap.
The obvious rapport of the musicians on stage, teamed with the light hearted banter with the audience on the links, added to the pleasing atmosphere portrayed in this gig, which was fantastic value for the hour and a half set This stretched furthermore with the four strong encore, which included a beautiful vocal display as KT sang with her two backing vocalists to ‘Universe and U’, ‘Walk like An Egyptian’ done very much in her own style, and finally ending on ‘I Don’t Want You Now’.

All the comments I heard on my way out of the venue (I’m a keen eves-dropper at gigs) were very positive and I also heard favourable comparisons to her previous gig, proving that KT Tunstall has grown and developed over the past few years in her live performances as much as in her recordings. Although it would be interesting to know what advice she would give to aspiring artists, her gig tonight suggests that the quality of music will prevail over all gimmicks.

©Meriel Flavell 2008

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civic hall, folk, gig, kt tunstall, live review photos, music, review, show

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