KT Tunstall – Rock Chick uncovered

KT TUNSTALL – COMMODORE BALLROOM – November 1, 2010

There’s a ‘Rock Chick’ hiding behind the folksy pop singles we usually hear from KT Tunstall and on tour she breaks free!
Unencumbered by the need to appeal to mass market radio when live, the refreshed arrangements on some of her past singles reveal more about their inspiration and creation. Some inspirations are evident from her descriptions of songs, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Chet Baker were named but there are also some flashes of Chrissie Hynde and other strong women of rock who’ve come before her.
One particular source of inspiration is especially poignant for a Canadian audience, the song Madame Trudeaux, which as KT described, was a written as an ‘anthem of female rebellion’ and is about the real-life Margaret Trudeau’s rock and roll lifestyle in the 70’s.  You get the sense KT appreciates that 70’s rebellion in life and music.

Her four very skilled backing band members, including drummer/husband, provide some tracks with a wall of sound remeniscent of some 70’s prog-rock. Other tracks get a quiet treatment and a simple sound that brings out the sweet mellow folk/country side of KT.  Even when solo, as we saw at her showcase in August, her use of samplers and other instruments creates a big sound for a little lady on stage.

This 90 minute set covered songs from all her albums plus an encore cover of Erasure’s ‘Little Respect’, which was a very fun highlight that I think ‘works’ because the demographic of the audience was slightly more mature than the usual hipster heavy crowds at a ‘trendy’ artist. The small but dedicated audience clearly loved KT, dancing and singing along to most every track. Although it was a Monday (after Halloween) night the audience was left wanting more, hoping to carry on dancing the night away.  Exactly the way you want a concert to wrap up…satisfied but wanting the artist to come back again soon.

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