(Magic Bag, Ferndale, MI - April 6th, 2006)
Since exploding onto the UK music scene in autumn 2004, KT Tunstall has emerged as one of today’s most remarkable new artists. Eye To The Telescope, the Scottish singer/songwriter’s dazzling Mercury Prize-nominated debut, showcases her provocative sonic mesh of heartfelt pop, bona fide electric blues, and left-field alt.folk to perfection.
Having just listened to the highly impressive musical styling of her opening act David Ford, I found it very impressive that tonight's small-town suburbia show had come complete with a large 'Sold Out' sticker emblazoned across it's front doors! For, back home the lovely KT Tunstall has become somewhat of a cult favorite - even just recently winning a coverted Brit Award - but here on her first American tour she is hardly a household name. But, and as an Englishman, I was very proud for her.
As she takes the stage, offering her chewing gum to someone in the front row in jest, quickly taking it back whilst muttering something about seeing it up on Ebay soon, KT is welcomed with a huge warm round of applause. But it's as she gets into her musical stride that you suddenly begin to hear a different KT Tunstall from the one heard on her debut American release, 'Eye To The Telescope.' To hear her on a recording, you may think she sounds like any number of solo female folk/acoustic singers. But to hear her play live, well, that just ain't true. Accompanied by her band of merry men, she rocks-up each track, adding beats and harmonies not found on the CD. In fact, she's got live looping down to a science! Recording each loop in two bars or less, Tunstall is highly entertaining and equally as visually alluring.
Culling from the album on a regular basis, Tunstall's beautifully balanced pop songs and stunning voice bring us such tracks as 'Other Side of The World,' 'Another Place To Fall,' ' Under The Weather,' 'Miniature Disasters,' and both 'Black Horse and the Cherry Tree' and 'Universe & U.'
Obviously being somewhat obsessed with the lo-fi crackle and hiss of primal blues recordings, Tunstall's organic approach has remarkably captured the visceral sound she hears in her head ... and we are all the more thankful for it. As we head towards the end of the set, she brings us the awaited hit single 'Suddenly I See' which is every bit as funky and as bouncy live as the CD version would have you believe.
Coming back for the two encore songs of both 'One Day' and 'Through The Dark' - which she claims is the end result of some of the most expensive piano lessons ever! - Tunstall finally says goodbye to the still-packed house. Arms frantically waving, broad smile never wandering, she is happy, they are happy, ... the world is happy.
Review by Russell A. Trunk
Photo Credit: Chris Schwegler