Kate Tempest


Although I didn’t feel as though it was the strongest of lists, this years Mercury Music Prize certainly switched me on to records by artists I had previously overlooked. One of these records was Everybody Down, the superb debut album from writer, poet, rapper Kate Tempest. Kate has been grafting hard for over a decade, performing in front of as many people as she can and inspiring budding writers wherever she goes with her engaging and thoughtful storytelling.

Tonight I am excited to be at a sold out Deaf Institute as part of Kate’s UK tour focusing on the musical side of things as she plays tracks of her excellent LP. I’m not sure if it’s deliberate or not but I like the way in which tonight’s support is formatted; a DJ followed by a Poet. DJ Phil Taggart opens the night with a set of bass heavy urban-electro hits, while main support comes from local poet Thick Richard who offers a bit of comic relief with his bleak, angry yet amusing observations. As Kate brings these two entities together so well, its nice that they are both recognised in the support tonight.Kate’s four piece band walk onto the stage, its a cool little set up of electric drum kits, sample pads, synths and backing singer who also acts as a dancer and hype woman.

The band ascend into an instrumental, Kate then walks on stage to rapturous applause, the band stop, she recites the first verse to album opener ‘Marshal Law’, the band come in for the second verse and its probably one of the most exciting intros to a set I’ve seen in years. Her band hammering out frantic industrial drum sounds and brash, driving synth sounds as Kate excitedly walks around the stage smiling at various audience members and putting her thumbs up to those who are rapping along. As the band quickly launch into the next track, Kate stops the band to say hello and show her gratitude for the show selling out and seems really excited and taken back to be here. Despite the set delving into some of the album’s more theatrical and darker moments, they’re seems to be a real sense of passion and giddiness in both the crowd and the band, for a Sunday night everyone is putting in the moves and dancing like there’s no tomorrow.There seems to be a few different arrangements to the songs which I’m a big fan of, and it’s great when artists alter their songs slightly for a live show.

Although I love the chilled out beat of ‘Theme from Becky’, tonight it seems more bass heavy while big hit ‘Circles’ takes on a more rave-like feel, particularly with it’s mind bending outro of delay-heavy vocal acrobatics from her backing singer. Kate’s backing singer is a pleasure to watch, she doesn’t just sing but she jumps, dances and hypes up the crowd incredibly well. It doesn’t feel like we’re watching a solo artist, it feels like we’re watching a band which is a rare quality you find in backing bands but one I would like to see more of.

Kate Tempest is a true talent with a heart of gold. She intersperses her songs with heartfelt speeches on following your passion, evolving your ideas and feeling empathy for your fellow human. It doesn’t come across as forced, corny or patronising, it’s inspiring because Kate delivers everything with pure passion and conviction, again its something you don’t see anymore as most bands tend to repeat themselves each night. Tonight really seems like something special, the band seemed into it, the crowd seemed into it and most importantly Kate was very much into it and because of this has rocked straight into to the top 5 favourite gigs of 2014.

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Benjamin Forrester

I joined the Silent Radio family near the very start of my move to Manchester in 2012 and I'm still having the best time! During my stay here I've been in two noisy bands, had a not so noisy solo project, made a zine, started a blog and started a radio show. It's been productive to say the least and it's all been intersperse with a shit load of gig going and beer drinking. I would love it if you followed me on twitter @dr_brainless for excitable tweets about playing, watching and living new music.