KT Tunstall Fires Up Beachland Crowd With Incredible Show
May 11th, 2019
KT Tunstall, the best thing to come out of St. Andrews, Scotland since a guy took a stick and smacked a little round ball into a gopher hole, played the Beachland Ballroom's main stage last night.
Tunstall, perhaps best known for her mega hits "Black Horse And A Cherry Tree," and "Suddenly I See," came into the spotlight in the early aughts; both of those hits sprang from 2004's Eye to the Telescope.
Sporting a soft Scottish lilt while heartily engaging the crowd, the forty-something singer's voice crescendoed into a Janis Joplin-like fury during most of her ninety-minute set. Touring in support of her 2018 drop Wax, the chanteuse offered a handful of new tunes from that album, her sixth studio drop.
Last night's show was rescheduled from late last year; Tunstall had experienced a devastating hearing loss in her right ear, which rendered her unable to maintain her balance or vocal tone. Although not fully recovered, she felt it was the "right time" to get back on the road. If she's partially deaf, that didn't seem apparent during the show; her voice, a guttural alto, really shone on her most well-known offering, "Black Horse and a Cherry Tree." Her sixteen-tune set, punctuated by a two-song encore, offered up a variety of vocal challenges, She went pianissimo on "I Won't Back Down," a Petty cover, and then went full tilt on "Little Red Thread," the first track on her newest release.
All smiles and presenting a playful, almost grateful banter, Tunstall seemed very comfortable on the Beachland's dimly-lit stage. Several times throughout the evening, she made simple conversation with the first few rows of fans pressed up against the ballroom's time-worn stage. A young couple, who attended the sound check and meet and greet, got engaged prior to the gig. Tunstall made a point to congratulate the pair, to which everyone in attendance provided a rousing round of applause.
Not to get back up on my time-worn soapbox but, in an age of auto-tuned disasters, how come someone like Tunstall isn't a bigger star? Her voice is incredible. I'd never seen her live before so I didn't quite know what to expect. Her stage presence is fantastic; those brogue-tinged vocals lit up that stage and her easy-going nature has made me into a fan; I'm eager for her return to the 216. I can only guess that her rise to popularity placed her in a hard-to-peg category that the early years of this new century provided for artists that weren't either hip hop or pre-packaged Country pop.
It's a crime; she's a performer in every possible way. And, her million watt smile is hard to come by these days. Suddenly, I see...
Photos and Review by Brian M. Lumley