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LIVE REVIEW: KT Tunstall at the Sage Gateshead

KT Tunstall is no stranger to the Sage Gateshead, or the North East, for that matter. The artist has passed through this area twice in recent times including arena shows with Rick Astley and the Stereophonics. Throughout her career, KT must have played most of the venues in this region.

The Scottish-originating artist has had a long and successful career in the music industry. So much so that before playing the classic Black Horses and the Cherry Tree, she jokes that the song is now old enough to drink. However, it doesn't feel like 18 years since the song was released. But perhaps that is the secret to KT Tunstall's repertoire, there is a timeless quality to such songs that make them feel as fresh today as at the time they were released.

It's Saturday night on Tyneside. One of our favourite nights of the week, and the locals require no encouragement on such an occasion. With a new album under her belt by way of Nut, the now LA-based artist opened the show with a few key cuts from her latest offering. But if her loyal fans thought that it was all going to be new music, they were pleasantly surprised when a wonderful airing of Other Side of the World featured just three songs in.

The chemistry between KT and her band was apparent from the off. Joined onstage by bass player Seye Adelekan, drummer Andy Burrows, and guitarist Stu Wilkinson, the group perfectly complimented one another throughout. Tunstall's wonderful banter and insightful backstories were a joy to behold during the evening.

Much like the rest of the show, the whole room was on its feet during an up-tempo airing of The River and Hard Girls.

A stripped-back acoustic segment slowed down the proceedings momentarily and took the Gateshead audience back to where it all started for KT Tunstall. Whilst channelling busking on the streets of Scotland and gathered around microphones centre stage KT and the band performed a rather enjoyable double mashup. This featured the artist's song Hold On, which was segued into both The Bangles' Walk Like an Egyptian and Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love. In true busker fashion, KT joked that the mashup was worth at least a fiver, much to the audience’s amusement.

One noticeable point on this tour is the lack of a loop pedal in KT's performance, which she quipped was having an oil change. But why use technology when you have such fantastic musicians to share the stage with? With Andy and Seye as accompaniment Tunstall took the audience through a spellbinding airing of Black Horse and The Cherry Tree.

A pair of love songs by way of All the Time and Synapse eased the crowd towards the finale. Whilst Canyons, taken from the artist’s new album brought the show full circle.

Having witnessed KT Tunstall live many times throughout her career, perhaps this concert was her best yet. The show took the artist's fans on a musical journey that not only highlighted her roots, but also the evolution of her sound. When played out on stage by KT and a world-class band, it doesn't get much better than this.

Words and Photos by Adam Kennedy

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