Concert Review: Kathryn Joseph, The Twilight Sad, May 16, Velvet Underground


A few songs into her set opening for fellow Scots The Twilight Sad on Thursday night, Kathryn Joseph introduced her next song as “another creepy song about being obsessively in love.” It was a funny comment and also an assessment of her work that is not entirely inaccurate – creepy, obsessive love songs do seem to be a recurring motif in her work.

Yes, much of Joseph’s music could conceivably be described as “creepy” – in fact Joseph herself referred to the songs as creepy more than once, even starting her set off by announcing that she would be more creepy than usual tonight (she also later helpfully pointed out which song had the most “fucks” it in – that would be “We Have Been Loved By Our Mothers” in case you’re keeping score).

Joseph’s latest album From When I Wake The Want Is is certainly a bit of a dark album, written, as it was, in the wake of some heartbreak and relationship problems, but it’s also a strong collection of sombre sounding yet beautifully mesmerizing songs that come across even better in a live setting.

Seeing the songs performed live, it’s very hard not to be drawn in by Joseph’s haunting, almost otherworldly voice and the sparse yet intense solo piano arrangements. It seems I wasn’t alone in feeling this way as much of the crowd near the stage were watching and listening intently during her set and I noticed a few people grabbing her albums from the merch table afterwards.

She ended off her set by thanking the audience, noting that both The Twilight Sad and their fans are the best and how lucky she is to get to see them live each night. She’s not wrong on that count – The Twilight Sad are a great live band.

Touring behind their recently released fifth full length It Won/t Be Like This All the Time, The Twilight Sad put on a typically intense performance following Joseph’s opening set – an impressive enough feat considering there was a distinct possibility that this show might not have happened. “Feels good,” Said vocalist James Graham a few songs in. “I wasn’t sure this was gonna happen but this is working.” The ‘this’ in question was of course, Graham’s voice, with the band having cancelled their previous gig due to vocal problems. But it seems that he’d gotten past any issues as it all sounded quite good on our end.

The band played nearly all of the new album throughout the course of the evening, peppering in a few choice selections from the rest of their discography including standouts “Cold Days From the Birdhouse” and “There’s A Girl In The Corner.” They also paid tribute to the late Scott Hutchison with their cover of Frightened Rabbit’s “Keep Yourself Warm” which has become a staple of the band’s set on this recent tour and which had more than a few singing along.

They closed the set off with “And She Would Darken The Memory” off of Fourteen Autumns And Fifteen Winters and James closed things off (or got things started?) by having his first drink in a couple of days – after dealing with illness, cancelled shows, and an extended stop at the Canadian border earlier that day, I’d imagine it was well earned and well deserved.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts