Kate Tempest just makes me so proud—proud to be a woman, proud to be a Seattleite, proud to be part of a collective of people who feel and learn through song. She has a way of radiating influence; it’s like she has all of these thoughts in her head. They’re thoughts you’ve also had at some point and in some capacity, and she expands upon them until they bloom in a more complex and beautiful way than you ever thought possible. In the mix of feeling bad for oneself through the despair of common experiences of heartbreak, loneliness, and isolation, Tempest is able to expand and expose us to a way of thinking and being that we don’t already practice, that we should practice.
SassyBlack was the perfect opener to Monday night’s show at The Neptune. Singer Cat Harris-White has a unique way of manipulating funk to sound like jazz and beyond. She places an emphasis on unique themes and ideas, which easily owned the entirety of the Neptune stage. SassyBlack was the perfect mix of thoughtful and sass to start a night of heavy reflection, adding her own ideas to the mix before Kate Tempest even took the stage.
When Tempest took the stage on March 27th, she subtly urged her audiences to wonder about things like capitalism and its constant and overbearing presence in our lives, the ignored minority, and other poignant issues within society as a whole. Yet, when she sang, she wasn’t preaching to us, and she wasn’t telling us what to do; she was creating a space for us to learn and listen with open hearts and open minds. Kate Tempest sang her message through the lives of seven strangers, all up at 4:18 a.m. She always sings with conviction. Her words come from such a thoughtful and authentic place that we can’t help but listen and relate to each character, and when she has us at our most vulnerable, we are challenged to rethink and revisit a variety of constructs and ideas.
When the band walked onstage, there were brief introductions: who plays what, and an almost shy thank-you to all of us in attendance, as we were told the sold-out Seattle show had the most people in attendance of any US tour stop. Kate then announced she would be playing through the entirety of her new record, Let Them Eat Chaos. As I was hoping she would, Kate began with her “Picture a Vacuum,” in which we started in the shimmering gleam of the world from space, but were soon pulled to be standing in the dark and tortured landscape of London.
Kate ran through each of her characters, singing as well as she does on the album—but this time, we saw the emotions she feels. The crowd clapped at parts where Kate spoke with special conviction, and nodded at parts where they felt connected to something she said.
A storm was brewing.
She completed the story of the seven with “Breaks,” in which her characters are brought outside, each alone. Here, they revel in the cool rains of London. It’s 4:18 a.m. What are they going to do to wake up? The storm has come, so along with her characters, the story turns on us, and we are asked: what are we going to do to wake up?
The music ended, but we were still staring at the stage open-mouthed, lost in thought, and with tears on our faces. Kate thanked us again in a slightly less shy voice, but still humble and kind. She took her bow with her band, and exited only after whispering, “I hope it stays with you.”
JULIA OLSON | I hope it does, too | KXSU Head Reporter