KT Tunstall @ Town Hall Birmingham, 20 March 2019

Let’s make no mistake, the majority of this evening was a rock concert and not a solo performance by another artist from an endless string of singer/songwriters. Supported by an all-female backing band consisting of drums, guitar, bass and keys, KT ploughed through heavy songs like ‘In This Body’ and ‘Push This Knot Away’, as well as renditions of ‘The River’ and ‘Little Red Thread’ from her sixth and latest album — WAX.

The show kicked off with a shout of ‘Let’s make like it’s the weekend!’, and Scottish singer/songwriter KT Tunstall was off. Anyone who’d suffered a hard day was suddenly energised and ready to have a good time. The stage set up and lighting were stadium-esque with spot lights that gave off a festival vibe.

The venue wasn’t sold out but was comfortably full. KT wore shiny PVC trousers (which she hilariously described as being made of ‘unbreathable fabric’ that made her ‘sweat into her socks’) and a grey vest with her long, dark hair loose. Her backing band looked just as rockin’.

One of the highlights of the evening was a three-song acoustic section consisting of ‘Feel It All’, ‘Heal Over’and Belinda Carlisle cover ‘Heaven Is A Place On Earth’. KT performed ‘Feel It All’ alone before bringing back the band for the other two. There were great harmonies and a beautiful acoustic bass.

KT’s voice is strong but has a clear tone and she’s previously held her own against Ray LaMontagne and David Gray on the Songwriter’s Circle, as well as putting in impressive live performances on shows like Later….With Jools Holland. In fact, that’s where she was first noticed back in 2004 performing ‘Black Horse and th’ by herself using a loop pedal (yes this was LONG before Ed Sheeran started doing it, in fact he was probably still in school at the time).

Tonight’s rendition of ‘Black Horse and the Cherry Tree’ was the other highlight of the evening. She started on her own with the loop pedal before bringing back the rest of the band and mashing up the song with ‘Black Betty’. KT even played some blues harp at one point.

One of the best things about KT is that she’s super relatable and very funny. The audience love her anecdotes and the moments between songs are like a stand-up routine. She’s also done some interesting stuff including visiting the arctic circle with Jarvis Cocker, amongst other musicians. That she tells us is where she wrote ‘Uummannaq Song’.

KT’s a stunning lady but not in a conformist way, being herself without apology. This attitude comes through in her music and the show ended with an invigorating sing-along performance of ‘Suddenly I See’ which people were still singing on the way out.







Set List

In This Body
Other Side of the World
Backlash & Vinegar
Uummannaq Song
Little Red Thread
Hard Girls
Feel It All
Heal Over
Heaven Is a Place on Earth (Belinda Carlisle cover)
Black Horse and the Cherry Tree/Black Betty
The River
The Night That Bowie Died
Dark Side of Me
The Mountain
Saving My Face

Push That Knot Away
Suddenly I See

Reviewer: Chrissie Duxson

Photos: Ian Dunn

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