LIVE REVIEW: Kate Tempest, Lafawndah @ Boiler Shop, Newcastle (17.11.19) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Lafawndah opens the evening in an enigmatic fashion. Breathy, lyrical fragments are set against atmospheric trip-hop rhythms, capturing the bittersweet emotions of love. When Kate Tempest takes the stage, the crowd erupts with adoration for the accomplished performance poet. Allowing a brief moment for perfunctory snapshots, phones are buried in pockets at her request, creating an atmosphere of heightened intimacy. As the lurching bass notes of Europe Is Lost rattle the venue and Tempest utters her prophetic assessment of the state of things, the gaze of the gathered audience is enraptured.

Despite pacing the stage in the throes of lyrical intensity her delivery remains seamless, as she conjures deeply personal stories through lyrical flows that comment on the fraught state of contemporary life and its attendant social issues. The post-Dickensian Ketamine For Breakfast forces personal reflections on parallel experiences of love and loss, of hedonism and the resulting chaos of its aftermath. After a brief set of earlier work, Tempest performs her latest record in full: heads bob in motion, hanging on her every word. Set closer People’s Faces strikes a poignant tone as Tempest utters every syllable with a heartfelt sincerity. She jokingly disavows the convention of an encore whilst thanking the crowd, who leave united, having shared a sublime experience: borne witness to the poet of our times.



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