KT Tunstall Review

Posted on: 2018-10-02

Our rating:

KT has spent the summer touring worldwide with superb artists including, The Pretenders, Simple Minds and Barenaked Ladies and after three sold out UK shows, it seems like there’s no stopping her.

“When was I last here?” KT asked a packed room of adoring Bristol onlookers. Without delay, “2004!” rings back from the crowd. These people are hardcore fans, as illustrated by the speed in which The Fleece (and London and Bath shows) sold out. Last time KT was in Bristol, all the way back in October 2016, she was promoting her 4th album to a packed Colston Hall and so when fans heard of her return, tickets were quickly snapped up. It’s not often you get to see such a huge household name play a room as small as The Fleece. The atmosphere is absolutely electric and the excitement is palpable.

KT Tunstall

KT’s gentle Scottish drawl rings out across the room, settling on silent reverence and beaming faces. Not only does she explain how happy she is to be back in Bristol she also tells the crowd her newest album is one of three. ‘WAX’, released 5th October on Virgin Records, is KT’s 6th studio album and was produced by Nick McCarthy, founding member of fellow Scottish rockers ‘Franz Ferdinand’.


The newest album is part of a trilogy which explores themes of spirit, body and mind. ‘WAX’ focuses on the body, and our complex relationships with physicality. As KT describes “I knew before I started writing that I wanted it to be an electric guitar record. It had to be visceral, about the physical, and the obstacles of that. It’s a record about human-ness, which we so often just write off as ‘flaws’. Wax evokes colonies of bees, candlelight, the material that the first long-playing records were made of”, she explains, “but more than that, wax is produced inside your own head”.


It may be 14 years since ‘Eye To The Telescope’ was released but KT looks no different, she’s still rocking her feathered fringe raven hair and white tank top combo and she bounces round the stage, clearly happier than ever to be entertaining.

KT Tunstall

During her illustrious career she’s won a BRIT and an Ivor Novello Award, as well as a Mercury Music Nomination – and although she’s undeniably talented, tonight’s performance solidly cements her accolades. At a show with such an established artist, it’s easy to let your attention slip until you hear an old favourite – putting up with the new tunes seems like the price you must pay for the familiar. This audience, however, had none of that sentiment. Her new tunes are, if possible, even more rousing, almost as if her fans are flowers that have been waiting to be watered with the music they’ve been missing all these years. The stand out track and lead single from new record ‘The River’ was particularly uplifting. KT has moved away from her acoustic roots and proves she can create a synth led banger as good as the chart heroes of 2018.


If no one told you it was firm favourite KT Tunstall up there you’d think you were hearing the next big thing who’d been rocking out in their garage for the last 6 months over a break up – so is the energy and youth of her new sound. This is of course coupled with the rich and raspy and voice of a worldy woman well versed with the ways of heartbreak – who knows her way around a Gibson guitar.


Halfway through the set, KT sends her all female band away and plays a gorgeous stripped-down version of ‘Other side of the world’, but it’s OK, her new backing vocalists, the tipsy Fleece audience, were more than happy to step in.

KT Tunstall

Once the band return, the loop pedal skills that that first brought her to public attention, also made a welcome appearance in possibly her most famous track ‘Black Horse and a Cherry Tree’.


KT has spent the summer touring worldwide with superb artists including, The Pretenders, Simple Minds and Barenaked Ladies and after three sold out UK shows, it seems like there’s no stopping her.


KT‘s new single ‘The River’ is out now

KT’s 6th studio album ‘WAX’ is out 5th October on Virgin Records.

Article by:

Talicza Stevens

Talicza has only lived in Bristol for three years, but has been reviewing gigs, shows and albums for decades as well as writing her own true crime podcast ‘transatlantic crime’