KT Tunstall at the Barbican
KT Tunstall’s concert gave us a perfect ending to what she called a “glorious London day”. After the release of her most recent album, KIN, in September last year, the Scottish singer-songwriter was back in the UK capital with her impeccable showmanship, vocal range and a stage presence that made proceedings feel less like a concert and more like an intimate conversation between friends.
Kicking the night off with Miniature Disasters, the ever-cool Tunstall strolled onto her black and white set in a pair of eye-catching gold trousers, accompanied by band member “Pete Beat”, her personified beat machine. Bass drum vibrated through the room as red lights shone down, creating a mysterious introduction to what was a fantastic night.
This artist is known for her versatility, from pop to folk to rock, and the audience consisted of a wide demographic of fans, all smiling, clapping and cheering for the charismatic Tunstall, who, between songs, told jokes and stories about her life on the road and her inspirations. Leading into Black Horse and the Cherry Tree, the musician recounted her first Jools Holland appearance in 2004 on which she recalled her inexplicable fashion faux pas, where she wore jumper sleeves on her legs, and at which her dad proclaimed “She’s bloody done it!”.
Although something has to be said of her ability to enchant the crowd with her comedic wit and rich storytelling, it is the singer’s powerful, tender voice that captivates most, as well as her choice of accompanying instrument. Amidst her energetic set, she sang, sat at her keyboard, the bewitching and atmospheric tracks Crescent Moon and Yellow Flower, flaunting her silken high notes and profound lyrics.
The one-woman-band used a loop-pedal to layer songs such as Maybe It’s a Good Thing, using the body of her guitar to create beats. When it sometimes went wrong, she jokingly blamed “Pete Beat”, but the mistakes and the imperfections added to the authenticity of her performance, demonstrating that Tunstall’s music is created entirely by her on stage.
Throwing snippets of her musical influences into the mix, such as The Bangles’ Walk Like an Egyptian and The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army, as well as a tribute to George Michael with Faith, for which everybody stood, KT Tunstall delivered an exceptional performance at the Barbican, ending the night with her best-known hit Suddenly I See. And do you know what? Suddenly we all did.
Photos: Guifre de Peray
For further information about KT Tunstall and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Maybe it’s a Good Thing here: