On The Download: KT Tunstall Proves Her Rock Prowess

KT Tunstall is officially now a rock star. In 2006, she won over our hearts with her softer folk songs on her breakthrough album “Eye to the Telescope,” but with her third album, “Tiger Suit,” she has emerged into a powerful, jamming rock goddess. I saw it with my own eyes recently when she performed live at The Music Box in Hollywood, Calif.

From the moment when the curtain was raised and she held up devil horns with her tongue out, I knew that the crowd was in for a rollicking good time. She started with “Glamour Puss,” which set the tone for a mixture of sass and upbeat energy, and she really hit her stride with her rousing rendition of “Come On, Get In,” which prompted my friend to vigorously declare, “That girl can sing!” Now, my friend wasn’t all that familiar with KT’s music before the concert, but three songs into the set he now immediately considered himself a fan.

On top of being so kinetic, one of the great things about the show was that KT shared a background tale about her writing process for most of her songs. She told the story of writing “(Still A) Weirdo” in LA (garnering many excited hoots from the audience) and explained how pleased she was that she wrote this particular song so quickly, because the feelings behind it flowed right out of her. For “The Entertainer,” she told the funny story of how she had seen a marathon of biographies about other musicians (musicians she once admired) and how disappointed she was to find out that they were actually “tools” in real life. So, she was inspired to write “The Entertainer” about their carelessness and less-than-admirable deeds.

Her stories made the evening feel like an episode of VH1’s “Storytellers,” and they not only gave deeper meaning to the songs, they made the evening feel more intimate. She was playful and friendly with the audience, in general, and I was super impressed with how well she handled people calling out to her on stage. People were yelling complimentary things like, “I like your pants!” and “I love you!,” but even positive stuff like that can throw an artist off sometimes. Not KT… she had a snappy comeback for everything. If people yelled something about how cool her clothes were; she’d make some quick-witted response about their fancy outfit right back.

Not only did she impress me with her wit, but she also dazzled me with her musical inventiveness. Instead of playing straight-from-the-album versions of older hits, she switched them up with clever tricks. At certain points she used a recording device to record the snapping of her finger or the tapping of the body of her guitar, and then she’d play those sounds on a loop. Then, she’d kick into an enchanting (almost odd) version of “Other Side of the World,” “Heal Over,” or “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree.” It was stunningly beautiful how she found a way to make her older songs sound new again with such unique and simple techniques.

Any good concert will leave you loving the musician as much as you did when you entered the show, but a great concert will leave you so enriched that you have a newfound appreciation for that musician as an artist. KT Tunstall did just that for me. She made me laugh… She got me dancing… She rocked my world.

To find out where you can still catch KT in concert, go to http://www.kttunstall.com.

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