We’ve had the good fortune of seeing a couple of gigs lately. We always enjoy live music, but finding bands/artists we like at venues we like on dates that we’re free, and at prices we like is always difficult.

However – despite our picky-ness we made it to the following recently (nicely matching with some recent CD purschases!)

KT Tunstall at Colston Hall, Bristol

Now…one of the games we played when we lived in Shepherd’s Bush was guessing who was playing at the Empire (a popular music venue just round the corner from where we lived) from the people who were queueing up/milling around. e.g. Jack Johnson gigs have lots of normally-dressed, but pretty stoned, surfer and indie types; The Beautiful South had lots of middle-aged, middle-of-the-road-looking people queueing outside.

For some reason, I was very self-concious at this KT gig. Though the crowd was a real mix, I felt slightly too young, slightly too normal, slightly too 90’s indie. Yet, I think if I was playing the “who’s on at the Colston Hall” game, I’d have picked me out as a MOR soft-rocker type along with everyone else. And I didn’t like that. Part of me is embarrassed that I went.

BUT…I don’t really care. The gig was GREAT! KT is a great entertainer, with lots of crowd-pleasing banter. She’s confident and charming, but a bit kooky. She’s incredibly cool, and very talented, but comes across as homely and clumsy. Her mum and dad were in the audience and she even forgot the words to one song called “Hopeless”, which, ironically, is about being just that!

The band were awesome and KT certainly doesn’t stand alone, with a bassist, guitarist, keyboards/random sounds guy, a brilliant percussionist (I’m not calling him a drummer because he played far more than just drums), and two backing singers, playing, between them all, a HUGE number of different instruments.

The songs were great, and we had fun, and enjoyed a class act.

Martyn Joseph at Marlborough Town Hall

I was almost certainly too young and too cool to attend this aging, accoustic folk-rockers latest tour, but we love him to bits and we’ve caught the last 2 tours (and previous gigs too), so I’ve already lost any credibility I might have had. 🙂

We’ve seen MJ with accompaniment before – a single keyboard player at a gig at Bush Hall in London. But this time he had a little band of sorts. There was a very cool-looking and talented female bassist playing double bass and both fretted and fretless electric bass – not all at the same time of course. And a very un-cool-looking but equally talented wind-instrument guy, playing tenor sax, clarinet and…yes really…the recorder!

I won’t say much about MJ. He was on good form and the new songs, which have grown on me more since my album review, sound great live. Though I prefer “Kindness” unaccompanied…it has a certain kind of emotion and tension when it’s just the accoustic guitar…it’s longing for more sound around it…”how I miss you/my angel and my reason how I miss you”. (Though I’m just listening to it again and there’s a hint of piano and electric guitar on the album version…so I’m wrong there. I do prefer the album version though).

What did amaze me at this gig was the teamwork, humility and restraint of the musicians. The wind-instrument guy hardly played at all. He only chipped in when it was needed. He didn’t, pardon the pun, blow his own trumpet.

There’s a great metaphor in here for how we should live our lives. Quietly working in the background, not demanding attention, playing along to the tune of our creator, but remembering always that it’s His work. He’s the lead, we follow, we play, and if we demand too much attention that will detract from His glory!

Music is a great gift and I left both gigs thankful for the talented people who write and play these songs to bring us pleasure.