Live Review: David Kitt @ St. Luke’s, Cork 2 Dec 2016

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david kitt

Kitt’s new album Yous is out on 1st January.

Kicking off a most varied and intriguing run of appearances at St. Luke’s this Christmas is Irish indietronica stalwart David Kitt. Over the course of six solo albums, Kitt has shown a deft touch, incorporating elements of dance music and hip-hip into his soul searching, tender singer-songwriter songs perhaps best exemplified by his most commercially successful effort, The Big Romance. However, it has been a long seven years since his last solo record Nightsaver was released in 2009.

Tonight, accompanied by violin and bass while Kitt mainly sports electric guitar, he plays his new album Yous, due for release in the New Year, in full. A ballsy maneuver without doubt. It is absolutely clear from the showcase that this is quite a different David Kitt from the one that endeared himself to a nation with his softly sung electronica tinged songs of quiet longing.

The new material is more intense than his previous work. There seems to be more at stake in these songs. Mournful violin swims among atmospheric and delicate finger picked electric guitar in places, while elsewhere bigger beats than Kitt has ever incorporated before flesh out otherwise delicate and reflective numbers. One number is given an extended and dream-like outro which focuses entirely more on ambiance than a catchy melody. Of particular enjoyment is Kitt’s cover of the moody synth pop of ‘Keep the Streets Empty for Me’ by Fever Ray which he reinvents as a pensive and regretful acoustic number. Think David Gray’s version of ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’ by Soft Cell but significantly less gravelly.

Elsewhere, foreboding violin moons over an electronic backbeat and vinyl crackle while an acoustic number is treated to a rhythm reminiscent of the classic ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ by Massive Attack. Kitt manages to add a delicacy and nostalgia to his cover of ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ by Thin Lizzy that has been hitherto out of reach of most attempts.

Towards the end of his two hour set, Kitt treats those assembled to a couple of his classics. However, his treatment of these songs shows his determination to carve a new niche for himself in the musical landscape. ‘Strange Light in the Evening’ transforms from a gentle acoustic number into a more robust and beat driven track while ‘You Know What You Want To Know’ is reworked with violin to become more pensive and coiled that the original.

Most remarkable is how ‘Into The Breeze’ is reworked to include a section that descends into feedback intertwined with violin before reassembling from chaos into something with direction and solid structure. One thing is clear by the time we are leaving the old church. This is not your dad’s David Kitt.

Photography by Shane J Horan.

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Jamie Coughlan is the founder of Overblown. He talks a lot about himself and is totally pretentious. Terrible with personal finances. Loves beer gardens. He has written for the RTE Guide, A Music Blog, Yea?, The Thin Air, Gigwise, and is a contributor to The Tipping Point.