Kate Tempest Adelaide Hall, Toronto ON, June 17
Published Jun 18, 2015Performance poet, playwright and MC Kate Tempest's Mercury Prize-nominated full-length Everybody Down is an album that analyzes youth and class struggles in England through the eyes of three characters in a rapid-fire and tightly wound narrative in a style that in some ways is reminiscent of the Streets. Translating this to the stage was an intriguing prospect, and South Londoner Tempest brought a backing vocalist, keyboard and drummer, who collectively added some low end heft to the skeletal production found on her album.
Tempest delivered a passionate performance on the mic, but didn't use hooks or crowd interaction as much as she could have to give the crowd a respite from her relentless delivery, which led to a mid set lull. Still, she did break things up with long spoken word interludes that allowed the crowd to really hear her lyrics. This tactic proved most successful at after an energetic performance of "Circles," and when she ended the show with "Hold Your Own" (the title of her recently released poetry book), a treatise about staying true to yourself that clearly resonated with the crowd.