LIVE: Kate Tempest – The Ritz, Manchester

Far Out headed back to The Ritz in Manchester last night to catch Kate Tempest continue her ascent towards being the most celebrated wordsmith on the British music scene.

It’s the largest venue she’s conquered thus far in the city, following a visit to Gorilla just across the road last time out, when she brought fellow spoken word superstar Loyle Carner with her.

Back to tonight, however, and the set proves to be one that manages to fuse hard-hitting prose with spellbinding electronica at the drop of the hat. That in itself comes as little surprise after we were blown away numerous times during the Everybody Down tour a couple of years ago.

We arrive expecting the standard showcase of tracks from the new record coupled with a sprinkling of the old, but as ever, Tempest’s approach is far more bold than our predictions give her credit for.

Instead – after politely urging the audience not to “watch the gig through their phone” – she announces that we will be treated to her latest effort Let Them Eat Chaos in full.

The record is a concept album of sorts, with tracks punctuated by spoken word vignettes illustrating the plight seven lost souls with a great deal in common. But couple this with the flawless – and occasionally pretty bone-shattering – house-laden backing provided by producer Dan Carey and the show is quite a ride.

Perhaps the most encapsulating thing about Tempest’s live show is the genuine energy and passion with which she communicates some very real, and for some off-putting, issues that infest our society in 2016.

‘Europe is Lost’ will no doubt go down as an invaluable time capsule, shedding light on the dismay felt by much of the millennial generation following the dog’s dinner that was this year’s ‘Brexit’ campaign (there’s still no chance of us omitting the quote marks as if that is suddenly a real word).

Political commentary aside, Tempest could probably cover subject matter as inane as the BBC’s One Show and her natural flow and quick-witted wordplay would still have us hooked.

After Let Them Eat Chaos comes to an end there is room for an encore, with just Tempest and Carey returning to the stage minus the other two band members who joined them for the main set. What’s more, we’re treated to a brand new track, with a slight disclaimer given about just how unpracticed it is.

The pulsating house is swapped for a quaint piano part that is the sole backing to a perfect ending. “Neat with no chaser, I’m all spirit” Tempest proclaims as she rattles through the closer with consummate ease. Far Out’s glass is firmly raised to that.

Patrick Davies

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