Tom Wright Band / Katie Kittermaster Live at The Bedford Balham
It was quite fitting that tonights appearance by Tom Wright happened on the night of a lunar eclipse as London singing appearances by one of the UK Americana worlds foremost guitarists, have in general been as frequent as an eclipse, however July and August sees a rare burst of activity, around the capital that was too good miss. It also came hot on the heels of by all accounts, a blistering appearance at the weekends FSA Festival, so hot that it prompted people to make contact and tell us that we should see him in action immediately.
It was something of an unusual talent evening at the Bedford with the evening split in 2, with each of the 5 acts playing 2 songs in the first half and 2 in the second, though with the acts not necessarily appearing in the same order. They were also spread across many musical genres so even if there was someone you perhaps did not care for you did not have to wait long before someone you did come along.
Tom's was the first full band of the evening and the sudden increase in volume was immediately attention grabbing as they headed into the warm soulful blues of "Same Old Story", complete with a trademark guitar solo. It is from his forthcoming EP.and it was immediately clear quite what it was that had got everybody excited from the weekend as the perennial sidekick took his place centre stage!!
With an unassuming yet ruthlessly effective band of musicians supporting him this was hugely enjoyable stuff, Following up with his current single "Mr Telecaster" a heavy funky blues number,he was certainly "living the dream!", the first part of the evening was closed out in great fashion.
After a short break it was time for Tom and the band to open the second half of the evening, with another song from the forthcoming EP in "Hey Girl", a wondrously heavy yet super catchy sound, complete with more great guitar work, it was punchy and absolutely brilliant. Initially when looking down on the band from the balcony, we almost neglected to spot Wayne Lee on keyboards who we'd not seen since Midwinterfest, who was hidden away on the far left of the stage, and it was to be his father who was to provide the source for Tom's closing song, Albert Lee's "Country Boy". This was to include an absolute masterclass in playing fast country guitar, and included a hilarious seemingly never ending closing sequence that also saw Wayne effectively take centre stage with a number of keyboard solos - it was an absolute hoot and in many way threw down the gauntlet to the rest of the evenings performers and said "match that".
The evening had commenced with 2 songs from Katie Kittermaster, who at 18 and having only just finished school already seems to have a cv that many would kill for, as well as support slot on the forthcoming Boyzlife tour that will see her touring the country. Playing with just an acoustic guitarist for company she put in a set that oozed great confidence and even having to stop the show briefly while tying up her shoelaces did not seem to faze her an iota.
With a voice that seemed to alternate between talking and singing and that had a distinctive yet captivating accent, you had the definite feeling that you were in the presence of someone with great potential. Her opening song "T Shirt" had a nice slice of honesty, "A silly girl with a dream"? - , I think not!. Written when she was only 16 this was nicely constructed and will touch a chord with many I suspect.
Her second song "Breaking Up" was a poppier affair and saw Katie move to holding the microphone in her hand and using a selection of expressive hand gestures, this once again was the look of someone quite at ease in a performing environment.
Her two songs in the second set, were equally as impressive, "You Feel Like Home to Me", a rare happy song apparently, and "What Am I To Do" showed a more uptempo dance style or at least as much as you can achieve with one acoustic guitar! It's a pleasure to see someone really enjoy performing and you got the feeling she had much more to give.
it is certainly early days yet and I would hate to burden her with the weight of expectation but I can certainly imagine at some future date gaining kudos by saying I remember Katie Kittermaster when she played for free at the Bedford! There's a debut EP coming soon - don't say you were not warned.
Tom Wright returns South of the River for a show at the Half Moon Putney on the 13th August
Katie Kittermaster is touring the UK throughout September - don't worry about seeing Boyzlife - just see her then leave!!!