Concert review: KT Tunstall, The Studio

By Rachel Bache

KT Tunstall.
KT Tunstall.

KT Tunstall made her mark on the world nine years ago with her hit Suddenly I See. Despite falling off the mainstream radar somewhat, the Scottish singer-songwriter's music making has continued, most recently with the release of her Invisible Empire album last year.

After a beautifully melancholy pop set from NZ X Factor alumni, Benny Tipene, KT Tunstall was met warmly by fans at The Studio in Auckland last night.

Tunstall launched into Miniature Disasters, setting up the track one sound at a time; the crowd whooping as the sassy song evolved over the chorus. Who needs a backing band when you have a loop pedal doing all the work?

Charming the intimate venue with her Scottish accent and amusing stories, it was KT Tunstall's interaction with punters that shone throughout the night.

During Stoppin The Love she jokingly confessed to "swallowing a full grown adult trumpet player - there was blood everywhere" before giving an impressive trumpet solo impression.

The singer wished people would get more creative with their plastic surgery before Drastic Fantastic's Saving My Face - "Why don't you get a massive hand?" she suggested.

Tunstall also applauded Lorde for "keeping her tits under wraps" and laughed her way through a few technical difficulties.

Of course it wasn't just the singer's sense of humour, Tunstall's soulful, raspy voice was enchanting and her intricately looped, guitar-picked pop got hips swaying.

Her latest single, Invisible Empire, inspired by the desert landscape of Tucson Arizona brought a folk sound into the mix, while sleepy piano driven Through The Dark possessed a Norah Jones vibe.

Black Horse and a Cherry Tree was of course a fan favourite, though Tunstall managed to mix things up a bit by bringing in a mash-up of The White Stripes' Seven Nation Army on the kazoo.

On the request of a fan, Tunstall also performed part of a Bob Dylan song, mumbling playfully through the song, proving that if you don't sing the lyrics, you can't forget them.

While she relied heavily on tracks from her first album, it was also great to hear some new sounds from Tunstall.

Her show proved to be both fun and funny, filled with audience interaction, story-telling and punchy performances of her alternative acoustic pop.

KT Tunstall and Benny Tipene
Where: The Studio, Auckland
When: Saturday, May 3


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