Artist: KT Tunstall
Date: January 14, 2008
Venue: Joe’s Pub
City: New York City, NY
Review by Karen Hester
Joe’s Pub advertised a show by KT Tunstall as her “only currently scheduled US date for 2008.” A voice in my head said “the only reason you want to go is because she’s famous and it’s a small venue, you snob.” I thought, fair point. Another voice said “the only reason you don’t want to go is because she’s famous – if someone obscure wrote catchy pop songs like that, you’d be there in a flash, you snob.” I thought, fair point. Then I told the voices to go away until they had something useful to contribute, such as a plot to hypnotize US presidential nominees, implanting a cool activation phrase to be triggered at the moment of big-red-button-pushing.
The show was a fairly enjoyable hour of music (no going overtime at Joe’s). Unfortunately the audience was almost entirely Joe’s Pub donors who were more interested in their calamari than the music. KT commented on the lack of audience reaction but was nonetheless cute and personable, giving us “free facts” with our tickets (e.g. cockroaches don’t die from decapitation, just from the hunger that produces; if you took all the space between molecules out of Earth, it’d be the size of an apple. A very heavy apple).
There was a percussionist, two backing singers (who also tinkled on a ‘rockinspiel’), and KT on her guitar. Her voice is pleasantly rough live, and her guitar playing nicely rhythmic, preventing things from getting too MOR. She did the cool self-sampling thing, playing ‘Black horse and a cherry tree’ in her patented solo way (eg YouTube). Lots of fun. KT has several catchy songs other than the singles, and the ballads were pretty. Suddenly I See was supposed to be the show topper but her guitar sound was huge and trebly for that song, spoiling her catchy ode to Patti Smith somewhat.