Monday 29 October 2012


Live Review

Symphony Hall, Birmingham

It’s remarkable that at 28, Katie Melua has slightly more than 10 years already under her belt. The Georgian singer, even when firing on only three cylinders, still has more talent and skill than many big names on the music circuit.

This said it’s not an excuse for not really putting in the effort. While her performance was solid and impeccable it was also somehow basic, clinical and lacked any real spark or wow factor.
Katie Melua
courtesy of
Katie is certainly being experimental with her latest album Secret Symphony the name of which alludes to a quartet which is on tour with her, consisting of two violinists, a viola player and cellist.
She came on stage dressed impressively in black and red looking something like a cross between a goth and a European gypsy and opened with the ballad Gold In Them Hills which is track number one on her latest album.
As you would expect she gave her appreciative audience a mixture of some of her signature hits, the Closest Thing To Crazy, and songs from her new album such as the title track which has a theatrical feel to it almost like Evita.
Also from the album was The Bit That I Don’t Get, a torch song which wouldn't be out of place in an old style, smoke-filled, underground club.
Katie also brought in rock, blues and jazz anthems and gave her audience a taste of her wide talent, although as clear and powerful as her voice is, she was occasionally drowned out by her musicians
She did give something new in the form of The Night I Dreamed I Was Awake, which has yet to be released, and seems like she is going for a more commercial sound. There were the more unique songs which are Katie's trademark such as the haunting and macabre love song I'd Love To Kill You and then there was the jaunty almost playful tribute to Mary Pickford and the track I always think should have been featured in a Hammer horror film A Moment of Madness which has that eerie sinister fairground feel to it.
Although Elkie Brooks had a hit with it many years ago, Katie brings a real freshness to Gasoline Alley. She also gave the audience an insight into her childhood in Georgia with If The Lights Go Out which was inspired by power cuts and is an up tempo number that could easily fit into Bruce Springsteen's repertoire.
Katie has a wonderful way of weaving theatricals with her voice which was perfectly executed with Shy Boy which evoked the beatnik era, French cafes and new wave cinema.
There is no two ways about it Katie is a fantastic talent who is denied the oxygen of the mainstream charts, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Although her concert in Birmingham was solid there was nothing really spectacular or mind-blowing about it.
Like last year she kept, her biggest hit to date, Five Million Bicycles, for the encore.

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