Gig review: KT TUNSTALL – Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, 16 November 2013

KT Tunstall, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, 16 November 2013

It’s probably fair to say that the albums since 2004′s award-winning ‘Eye To The Telescope’ may have progressively alienated those who loved its breezy, folky – and highly accessible – pop.

Since that time KT Tunstall has released four more full length albums which haven’t quite had the impact of that debut but, whatever, performers have to move on.  Her latest album ‘Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon’ was recorded in Arizona rather than Aberdeen and there is an obvious sub-Americana pop vibe permeating throughout and a more serious lyrical content overall.

KT Tunstall, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, 16 November 2013

That debut – released when she was 29 – displayed the sheer exuberance of a performer who had won her spurs busking whilst at High School and who later followed a low-key musical existence in her native Scotland; a decade or so on and the latest material explores darker and deeper themes.  The first half of the new album explores the death of her father and is naturally quite poignant and things don’t get much lighter with the second half influenced by the break up of her marriage.  It can only be hoped that KT’s audience matures with her.

Was this, then, a gig of “two halves”?  Any fears about too much introspection and angst were allayed, and those who loved that debut were well serviced with four songs including rumbustious versions of ‘Black Horse and The Cherry Tree’ (coupled with a cover of the White Stripes ‘Seven Nation Army’)  and ‘Suddenly I See’.

KT Tunstall, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, 16 November 2013

Perhaps the most striking omission from the setlist was anything from the previous album ‘Tiger Suit’ but there was a sublime version of ‘White Bird’ from ‘Drastic Fantastic’ and along the way ‘Alchemy’ from her ‘The Scarlet Tulip’ EP which demonstrated her musical versatility.  However, it was actually the new material that perfectly showcased KT’s evolution and her fine vocals, such as ‘Made Of Glass’ and ‘Waiting On The Heart’.

This gig was the perfect antidote to manufactured pop – great songs and musicianship, the ubiquitous loop pedal,  and a performer for whom life probably really does begin at 40.

Review by Emma Daze
Photos & Gallery by Steve Goudie

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