Buckle & Boots 2023: The Paddock Stage - Katie Nicholas
It’s hard to explain the collective joy that #TEAMw21 had on seeing Katie Nicholas on the grounds at Buckle & Boots. It has been at least five years since any of the team had sighted her and so we all decamped to the Paddock Stage to see her and within seconds we were instantly rewarded. In fact it was only as she opened with “Chemistry” that it really struck home quite how long it had been. We'd forgotten exactly how well she plays the guitar, her fantastic stage presence, sense of humour and let's not forget a damn fine voice!
"Chemistry" is now nearly 10 years old but still sounded as fresh as it ever did - no-one quite writes like Katie and certainly no-one is as skilled at making videos as she is. This version retained all the essence of the original yet somehow seemed a little more considered and assured - it was simply magnificent.
A new song followed "The War On Love" - which came with a delightful guitar refrain - the words though cut deep
"Be careful what you do with your love
Be careful who you take it from"
There were so many quotable lines, they came thick and fast and Katie's delivery was impeccable - it was so good you immediately wanted to rewind time and hear it again.
Another trip down memory lane took us to the title track of Katie's only album to date "Dizzy". It was interesting to contrast this song with the one that proceeded it - just to see the difference in styles - each splendidly authored in its own way.
Katie's ability to pick guitar was brilliantly demonstrated on a cover of Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me".
Another unrecorded song appeared, planned for a 2024 release, in the shape of "You Kill Me" described as a "miserable love song".
"You kill me with your eyes
You kill me with your smile"
There's too many cracks in my foundation
But you cover them for a while"
It came with an easy going tune and and a host of precisely picked lyrics.
The home run would all be familiar material, "Boots" which is a very early song, and although Katie is not a great fan of it, lines like
"Let me walk round in your boots
So I can see why you walked over me
Why you dropped me so fast
When you promised me - this would last"
still hold up well today.
Katie revealed "Patience" to be the one thing she does not have -
"It takes time to be a bit more patient
and that's not my best quality"
It's a wonderful piece of self analysis with Katie in her introduction admitting that she can get lost in her videos at the expense of actually releasing the music!
"With dreams so high - I'm only shooting low
Wish I could fly with the arrows that I throw"
Katie was to finish her set off with the song that kept #TEAMw21 going through Lockdown with its wonderful video - "Cabin Fever". In this live format Katie was able to pull out certain lines for extra emphasis - and it was therefore able to take on a life of its own separated from the images that have become so synonymous with it. With some lovely guitar playing throughout, it was a great reminder once again of how much she is missed - fully justifying her #TEAMw21 selection of being one to watch at this years festival.