52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Monday, October 31, 2005

I'm a stranger to myself

KT Tunstall @ Nottingham Rock City, 31st October 2005

Before I start this, I should probably tell you that I'm not a massive fan of KT Tunstall. I don't dislike her or anything, and I have the album on my iPod, but I've never really been massively grabbed by her music. Still, she was pretty good at Glastonbury (although I had been drinking cider) and I had agreed to accompany Lord B to this gig in exchange for his attendance at The Editors gig a few weeks ago.

As usual, we turned up at about 9pm to find the lobby area of Rock City eerily empty. Usually this is bursting with people checking out the merchandise, and just generally hanging around. This evening, in spite of the gig being a sell-out, there hardly seemed to be anyone around, except for a very polite family picking up their tickets from the box office (who still have Embrace tickets left, by the way - they're playing a warm-up for their arena tour here in a couple of weeks). I suspect that this is the KT Tunstall audience. Sure enough, the main room was absolutely packed with people who would clearly have preferred to be in a venue with seats. Still. I shoved my way through these immobile pillocks to the bar and settled in to watch the show from the fringes (being tall enough to see).

KT came on wearing a t-shirt saying "Witch" (it's Halloween, you see....) and proceeded to say something I didn't catch. This became something of a theme. Our KT is from Fife (or somewhere like that), and although she doesn't have much of a Scottish accent, she clearly has enough to of one for me to completely fail to understand what she was saying apart from the odd word. It was a bit like watching a tiny, Scottish Rowley Birkin.

What can I say? She was alright. She paced her set badly, and left too many quiet songs for the end... but songs like "Suddenly I See", "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" and "The Other Side of the World" are not bad at all, and well worth seeing her perform. Ed Harcourt made a fleeting appearance at one point, but to be honest, as he was all dressed up in a skeleton costume, complete with mask, and didn't say a word throughout, it might as well have been Mr.Ed for all the difference it made. I think the main problem is that I just couldn't escape from the impression that the music was probably best heard from a nice warm bath, surrounded by scented candles, and not in Rock City. Rock City is where I go to see bands with loads of loud guitars, and leave with my ears bleeding. It's not somewhere I go to watch people smooching to gentle acoustic music played by a tiny Scottish pixie. The audience was fascinating: lots of couples, of course, but I also particularly enjoyed the bloke who looked like he had walked in expecting to see Smokey. Takes all sorts, I suppose.

Sorry KT. I'm sure you deserve a better review. Perhaps Lord B will oblige.

I might go and see Dr. Carl Kennedy from Neighbours next. He's playing at the Walkabout in a couple of weeks. Who could resist that?

Or it might be The Bluetones. I can't remember.


  • At 9:05 am, Blogger Damo said…

    Did you watch Ed Harcourt's support slot? What was it like?

  • At 9:17 am, Blogger swisslet said…

    He was supporting was he? Nah - got there at about 9pm.

  • At 10:54 am, Blogger Damo said…

    Ed Harcourt is a hero, a drunk and a nutcase... you missed out there...

  • At 11:21 am, Blogger LB said…

    ...from the man who would watch a support band if they comprised of a cactus, a child on a glockenspiel and someone reading the phone book in a Scottish accent just in case they hit the big time....

    heh heh heh

  • At 1:17 pm, Blogger Damo said…

    I know that was a joke, but a pretty pointless one on two grounds:

    1) I never said I go to watch support bands 'in case they get big', I said I go 'in case I like them'. Some of them then happen to do big stuff, like Muse supporting Gene, Kaiser Chiefs supporting Ordinary Boys, Razorlight supporting Suede or whatever (and other than Muse those are far from my favourite examples). Other bands never achieve fame but instead I just find a 'new favourite' band (long-defunct acts like The 45s and Honeycrack) too...

    2) I already know Ed Harcourt's stuff very well. And that would have been my main reason for going.

    Honestly... a football nutter is allowed to say that supporting the grassroots game is vital but if I do the musical equivalent then I get it in the neck for being a snob.

    Someone back me up.

  • At 2:25 pm, Blogger Jenni said…

    I agree, Damo. You would have to be a nutter to like football. ;)

    Just kidding. I do think there is something to be said for supporting music at its grassroots. That being said...well, I guess I don't have anything else to say. :)

  • At 3:05 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    come on now children.

    As I've said before, I actually quite like watching support bands for the same reason you mention Damo - because sometimes you see someone really good. I don't think you're being a snob here. It is a thrill seeing someone like that to go on and be massive (I like the fact that I saw Radiohead at the whip-round at Warwick - where the band get paid, literally, by collection tins cirulated through the audience). I also like the simple pleasure of hearing good music by someone I have probably never heard of. I've seen a lot of toss, but I've heard a few good'uns too.

    I didn't know Ed Harcourt was supporting KT last night, and I would happily have gone along to listen to some of his stuff. I was also fairly content to roll up at 9pm and watch the main act only as it had been a long day, I wanted to spend an hour at home before I came out, and because I wasn't massively excited about going out full stop.

    Perhaps I'm getting old. Actually, I'm definitely getting old.


    (And aren't you supporting grass-roots music by having bought the ticket anyway? Whether you see them or not, they're getting paid....)

  • At 3:46 pm, Blogger LB said…

    er, sense of humour failure alert!

    young Damo, I think what you said was "...The list of bands that are now dead famous that I've seen at an early stage is huge..."

    but the point I was making was that your intimation is always that I am somehow doing something wrong by not watching the support act.

    Which is clearly not true either - as, depending on how much time I have etc I often see the support act. I made three of my friends get to the City of Manchester stadium ridiculously early this summer so I could see the Bravery, for example.

    I agree with ST about it being dependent on the specific scenario, though. I left work yesterday at 7.52pm in the evening, which, unless I had been helicoptered home to change and helicoptered onto the roof of Rock City, meant I wouldn't have got there in time for the support act. So no, I didn't see the support act, but I did see what I went for, and, furthermore, I won't be fired as I managed to clear a lot of my work.

    And I was under the impression that by spending a fair bit of cash to see acts live (five in the next month at the last count), I might be supporting music at a grassroots level, so to speak?

    laugh along, dear boy, there's no need to take everything so personally....

  • At 3:53 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    ... and in case you were wondering, I didn't even throw a few coppers into the Radiohead collection tin. I was trying to get drunk with my mates at the time and resented that fact that they were making it hard for me to hold a conversation, and impossible for me to put The Smiths onto the Jukebox.


  • At 9:31 pm, Blogger the urban fox said…

    a cactus, a child on a glockenspiel and someone reading the phone book in a Scottish accent

    If such an act did exist, they would go down a storm in Shoreditch, and I ain't even jokin' witcha sugar.

  • At 3:04 pm, Blogger Flash said…

    Bring on the Bluetones!

    I like Ed Harcourt, he's top.

    I used to always want to get to gigs early & I discovered many bands that I'd have never heard of that way. Plus it also allowed me to join in the "Oh I saw soandso supporting The Wotsits back in '42, way before anyone other than thier Mum's even knew who they were" game.

    These days I mostly can't be arsed.


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