David Kitt arrives on stage to a reception just shy of rapturous, though there was some reservation in the air. But maybe not without reason, The Nightsaver is Kitt’s sixth album in eight years, a couple of which were shaky to say the least. So maybe folks are treating the new material with trepidation.
Opening with -A Real Fire’, Kitt’s vocal is CD-perfect. He’s no Guy Garvey but what he lacks in range and prowess he can more than make up for with tone and, well, sentiment. ‘Redefining what was lost’, David Kitt MK 2009 is a much happier model, jovial even.
Don’t worry, he’s still the hopeless romantic that made him endearing circa Small Moments. But he also seems partial to the odd all nighter and antics that go with it, looks like his maudlin days are behind him. Tonight Kitt is visibly chuffed, admitting it’s been a long time since he sold out anywhere, even it is ‘just Whelans’ (his words).
-Move It On’ does exactly that: the album opener takes us up tempo, still acoustic pop but accompanied by Katie Kim on harmonies, a driving beat, and some neat samples. The crowd is shuffling away and with that any reservations are gone as the response gets that bit closer to rapturous.
You see The Nightsaver is a departure in some ways for Kittser ‘¦ it’s really really good. A mish mash of previous sounds and styles, this is his best work to date. Ignore the mediocre reviews out there, it is a collection of really well written, infectious tunes; there’s nare a dud track on it.
Joined on stage by one Brian Mooney, Kitt launches into -It’s Yours’, with one of the most recognisable guitar licks of the year. During -Alone Like That’ its clear that Kitt doesn’t have to do that much on stage, these songs are so strong they speak for themselves. -Nobody Leaves’ and -Learning to Say Goodbye’ have elements of 80’s electronic sounds and 90’s dance (the good stuff) that take on a life of their own live. On the former, Kittser dances around with his drum pads as the crowd clap along. The chanting of ‘on the way back home’ against the sharp synth on the latter is reason enough to catch the next gig. Anthemic stuff.
Softer moments like -Don’t Wake Me Up’ find the audience joining in on the chorus. -No Truth in Your Eyes’ is particularly moving as we sing ‘Are we in the mood to go where we like to?’: the answer is ‘yes’, if we can get more of this. So Kittser, we’ll have no more of this chat about packing it in and getting a day job, everyone’s potless at the minute so you just keep doing what you’re doing and we’ll all be happy.
Kitt also dips into his back catalogue, most notably a brilliant reworking of ‘You Know What I Want to Know’. The encore includes a version of Womack & Womack’s ‘Teardrops’, a State favourite, before closing the night with an instrumental pop dirge. The strength, scale and danceablity of David Kitt’s new material will allow him to grow into much larger arenas: based on tonight’s performance he’ll be selling them out too.
– Saturday 18th April
Photo from Flickr – Simon Hepworth with thanks.