Phones aloft the crowd take directions form KT Tunstall during her performance at the Clickimin on Tuesday night. Photo: Kevin Jones
It was one of those ‘have to go to’ gigs. But this was working – somebody’s gotta do it, as I informed the many folk I encountered as the night went on.
I queued with the rest, amid the midges, even though it was a standing gig so there’s no “best seats”. In the end a wall to lean on would suffice.
My knowledge of Edinburgh’s KT Tunstall – like many in the crowd? – extended to “Woo Hoo!” and her hits Black Horse and the Cherry Tree and Suddenly I See from about 10 years ago.
Once a regular rock chick with attitude, she’s now living in Los Angeles “where even the dogs have guns” she informed us. She was obviously very popular with the Shetland crowd who had seen the gig moved from Mareel to the “Click-em-in” due to demand.
The venue has the capacity – but atmosphere or character? It is after all a sports centre.
Callum Beattie, a fresh-faced singer-songwriter was the support act and he set the evening alight with a groovy green guitar.
Unbelievably, he is on his first tour but let rip with a string of gutsy tunes delivered in a compelling style.
There was admirable passion in his songs like Some Heroes Don’t Wear Capes though it was a bit early for his attempts at a singalong.
Then it was time for KT with her band from LA – was that Lerwick and About? The lineup was KT on guitar, keyboards, and a cracking rhythm section of drums and bass.
To ensure the audience got going KT, jokingly explained that one of her technical people had a button which transformed Tuesday evening into a Saturday night.
She was at pains to tell us she had not been changed by her rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle – she still tied her own shoe laces, and proceeded to demonstrate this standing on one leg. That’s no mean feat, or is that feet?
She did have glam silver “breeks” and what looked like boxing boots which ably helped with her characteristic bobbing up on down on stage. She is a past master of pogoing.
And she had a roadie passing her guitars – if that’s not rock ‘n’ roll what is?
She admitted she was a chatterbox and was keen to engage with the audience. She hadn’t seen Shetland the TV programme, (“wir Davie ‘ll no lik dat”), but she loved the ponies and “landing on the road at Sumburgh”. She had tweeted earlier in the day: “There will never be enough Shetland!”
Among the favourites she played quite a few new songs like It Took me so Long to Get Here, but Here I am, which she admitted it was a long title. The new songs seemed heavier than the material we’re familiar with.
Unfortunately, the sound mix did not make the most of her brilliant voice and the words came out rather indistinct at times.
Some of the most successful numbers were when it was just KT singing with her guitar, but this did not deter the Shetland audience with its insatiable appetite for music and “havin’ a guid time”.
At one stage a mass of mobile phones were waving with the torches lit. I’m not sure what that was about, I can remember the days of lighters being swung in appreciation.
KT’s hits came and we had the famous tambourine and even the underrated kazoo, which can be an asset to any self-respecting Up-Helly-A’ squad.
She played a decent length set with bouncing enthusiasm and the crowd got their encore after much foot stomping and whistling.
She surprisingly played Simple Minds cover: Don’t You Forget About Me as part of her farewell, which took me back Edinburgh a long time ago when they were the support band.
There was an air of nostalgia at the gig with KT still putting on a pulsating show. And she did manage to push the “Saturday night magic button” ably supported by Callum Beattie. He’s definitely one to watch in the future
And she did manage to push the “Saturday night magic button” ably supported by Callum Beattie. He’s definitely one to watch in the future.