By Calvin Barr
Photos Randall Vasquez
Celebrating the newly released album “KIN,” KT Tunstall packed up the Danforth Music Hall, from doors open to curtains down. Opening act Connor Youngblood from Texas was an incredible talent, who in a series of original works managed to cover a range from beautifully melancholy acoustic, to railing on a banjo, to quintessential classic rock.
I had no idea what expect of KT as a stage performer. Maybe, she would be in-your-face and yelling or maybe very soft spoken in-between sweet acoustic ballads. Then again, I’m someone who regularly listens to “Universe and U” (both the original and the Grey’s Anatomy version), among her other work, in times of self-reflection. So the thought of spending an evening lost in that experience was delightful. Everything about this musician’s air amplified that prospect more than I could have anticipated.
Especially for someone with a number of chart-topping hits, KT’s dry sense of humor gave her an uncanny down-to-earth quality that makes listening to her speak almost as wonderful as listening to her perform. The house erupted as she hopped onto the stage wearing a sporty tank top and disco pants. With her hearty Scottish boom, she greeted the crowd and opened with “If Only,” bringing the crowd into the start of an all-night grove.
She kept the audience laughing before going into many of her classics. Before playing “Other Side of the World,” she cheekily encouraged us all to be in a local relationship to avoid eating dinner alone and sexual frustration. She introduced the iconic “Black Horse and The Cherry Tree” by saying “okay let’s see if I remember how this goes,” after telling a story about walking past a band in a pub covering it, giving the singer a thumbs up from the window, and then being snubbed.
The new songs, some of which were being played for the first time, were given a more context, which kept the audience suspended on every note and word. She ascribed “Turned A Light On” to the feeling one has upon meeting someone who turns their life around. She related “It Took Me So Long to Get Here, But Here I Am” to the transition between feeling lost and uninspired to celebrating starting over again.
As with any great concert, it was apparent when she was happy-go-lucky, hopping and dancing up and down the stage (and encouraging the audience to do the same) and when it was coming from a profound place. Much of her music is stylistically comparable; at a pretty moderate pace, with varying intensity, volume, and inspiration from different genres. But as any fan could guess, the unique thoughts, feelings, and ideas behind each song shone through this extraordinary musician entire evening.