Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kate Walsh - The other night

I went to see lovely Sussex-via-Essex songstress Kate Walsh at Auntie Annie's on a typically wet Belfast evening last night, a fortnight ago. I've been quite a fan of Kate for at least a year. She's an acoustic singer-songwriter with a marvellous multi-octave voice that makes me go 'ahhhh!'

She was supported by a local called John D'Arcy who looks about 15 and also looks like Mr Tumnus. He sings semi-comic songs about characters in a local accent which I don't much care for; and then he stuck the guitar in an open tuning and sung some pleasant serious songs in a standard accent. A woman I assume was his mum was flogging his CDs at the back.

Then Kate came on. She introduced a song about fireworks called, er 'Fireworks' by saying that down the road from where she lives in Brighton, they have a huge fireworks display in a town called Lewes. And they take it very seriously, 'and even burn an effigy of the Pope!' That brought a few semi-serious hisses. I wonder what the reaction will be if she says that in Dublin tonight. It might bring on a few cheers.

At this point I must mention the GIG TALKERS. My companion RJG and I are always on the early lookout for talkers. Some Belfastians like to claim they are 'great audiences,' as if there was some worldwide competition to be the world's best listeners. Well, they aren't; or at least they are always let down by a small minority of GIG TALKERS. Sometimes, these are drunk, lairy young people who drink beforehand and act moronically throughout. In these case they were two women d'un certain âge who really should have known better. One looked like Celia Imrie and the other looked like a plasticine Pinnochio. They didn't shut up for the entire show. I suppose we should grow some balls and just order them a cool pint of Shut the Feck Up. But it's difficult to tell off adults when one is as gentile & middle-class as I.

I'm no Victor Meldrew but the rotting corpses of Gig Talkers should be manacled in chains outside the venue.

Anyway, back to the gig.

I was really looking forward to hearing 'Light and Dark,' Kate's song about leaving a good unsexy man who treats her well for a bad sexy man who treats her badly. Bit like me :) That description doesn't really do the composition justice. It is the best song of 2009. Ok, joint best with 'Little Lion Man' by Mumford and Sons. It's a wonderful goosebumply spinetingly sort of tune.

But it is a testament to the excellence of the show that it wasn't the standout. Shamefully, I can't tell what they were as I have only bought Kate's long players since the show.

I was most taken with 'Tonight,' the tune you can hear if you click the YouTube embed at the top of this post. Kate introduced it by saying that a woman had come up to her the night before and told her that she'd had the song played at her wedding. She didn't have the heart to tell her that it was actually about one night stands. RRRRRRRaunchy! I'll never be able to listen to it in the same way again.

I also recognized the ever-lovely 'Your Song' and an excellent wistful piano-based version of Erasure's 'Respect.' Kate played the piano herself on this one. I didn't realise she played the piano but then she's a graduate from a college of music so I suppose they teach you how to play more than one instrument there. It might even be a Binding Condition of Entry. She's probably a dab hand at the marimba and glockenspiel too.

On most of the songs she was accompanied by a bloke on keyboard and a girl on cello. There should be more cello at gigs.

Anyway, I got to meet Kate at the end of the gig. I bought a copy of her new album 'Light and Dark' and got her to sign it for me. She is tiny and sparkly and I like her new haircut. I didn't talk to her for too long in case I became gushing. She is much smaller in real life than on the stage, but not as small as John D'Arcy. I should have bought a copy of her first album 'Tim's House' too but I have since purchased it from the internet. I have been listening to both albums over and over. Great stuff.

In a final insult, Plasticine Pinnochio-faced woman came up and bought a CD from Kate and had a jolly chat to her. What a nerve! She didn't shut her long gob to pause for air throughout the whole night. I felt like taking the CD offa her and smashing it into her elbows.

RJG wanted to ask Kate where she comes from in Essex because his wife comes from Essex and he knows Essex but he hung back. Shyness is nice, but shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you'd like to. Oh-ho.

No comments: