Kate Tempest

So if everyone could ignore this huge gap in the posts on my blog, that’d be great. The condensed version is that last semester at uni I had a lethal mix of laziness, too many gigs and the stress of trying to write a number of essays and papers. Well, it wasn’t so much the stress of writing them, more the stress of trying to find things to do (and countries to go to) instead of doing them. Procrastinating is hard work guys.

Ok, so the next lot of reviews are going to be horrifically out of date, however, I’ll write about how the gig was, and the artist in general. Though I’m sure you don’t mind reading these things well out of date. I’m not sure what the half-life is on these kind of blogs.


Now all that admin is done, on to Kate Tempest. So I’ve known about Tempest for a couple of years now, after I became a fan of Scroobius Pip. I first knew her as a spoken word poet, however she is a prolific playwright as well, and is about to release her third book.

Kate Tempest is really something when it comes to lyrics and performance. She has been influenced by ancient mythology, this is evident in one of her songs Icarus and in her first book, ‘Brand New Ancients’. Tempest has also written and performed a poem called  Tiresias, about the myth of Tiresias (surprisingly). [WARNING: LINGUISTIC DIVERSION UP AHEAD] For any linguistic nerds out there, it is also interesting to note that Icarus was written in dactycal hexameters. The ‘dactyl’ part refers to the pattern ‘TUM-te-ty’ essentially, the syllables for the pattern ‘stressed-unstressed-unstressed’. The hexameter part refers the amount of syllables per line (in this case…six). This was a common in epic classical poetry written in Latin and Greek. I just think that it’s really cool that she has written a poem in dactycal hexameters, which aren’t used much at all in poetry and spoken word nowadays.  Ok, people who hate linguistics  can tune back in now.

Tempest has played at Bestival for a number of years, and every time I see her (whether it’s at Bestival or any other of her gigs) I get chills when she speaks. She has this passion and power in her voice that is hard to come by. She makes you want to get up and do something with your life, to experience life in the fullest way possible. Tempest blends flawlessly elements of spoken word, rap, poetry and theater to create beautiful pieces that create characters so solid you can almost touch them. This, combined with her strong East London accent makes for stunning pieces that are so different from anything anyone else is doing. All this is helped of course by the fact her work is littered with amazing lines riddled deep in meaning, such as:

‘And the days are all dust
and the only thing worse
than losing the trust
of a lover is finding the rust
in their kiss.’

Which can be found in Hold Your Own, Tempest’s first book released back in 2014 – and can be found relatively cheaply from wordery.com. She is about to release another book called The Bricks That Built The Houses which you should definitely buy, like everything she does it’s going to amazing.

Kate Tempest is actually about to go on tour for her upcoming book, starting in London in April, and stopping off around the UK until she flies stateside to tour in America, so for any Americans reading, this would be a chance to see one of the UKs most prolific and talented writers, an opportunity that should not be passed up. The dates and tickets for the tour can be found here.

It’s hard to use words as eloquently and as effortlessly as Tempest does to do her any justice, my recommendation is to pick up one of her books, see her live, and blab on about how amazing this woman is to anyone who will listen. Much like I’m doing.

Anywho, her are some photos of Kate Tempest at Bestival in September last year.







Ah, Bestival. Probably my favorite festival of the year. Run by Radio 1 DJ and Record Label boss, Rob da Bank. It year has it’s own theme, and on the Saturday there’s the fancy dress competition. Robbie has a good knack at choosing acts, and although, when they’re announced it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, by Sunday night, everyone has had a fantastic time.

On of the bonuses about Bestival, is that as well as being a music festival it put just as much effort and time to be a literary festival, film festival, silent disco and cabaret club. In a field. This means that even if the music isn’t to your liking (which is in itself a challenge, since the festival has over 20 stages) you can always spend a morning doing some yoga, and afternoon listening to some poetry, and an evening playing ping-pong in an ultra-violet shipping container.

Right. Onto some bands.

Fine Lines

The Bandstand stage is usually commandeered by local bands. On Thursday night the stage was graced with Fine Lines, a folky, rock band, with haunting vocals and intricate melodies. They were a superb band to watch on a Thursday night.

La Roux

Everyone was very excited about La Roux, performing in the big top late on Thursday night. In truth, I wasn’t too fussed about seeing her. However, I’m very glad I did. She had a great stage persona, talking to the crowd, getting them hyped up. I felt the night could have gone either way. La Roux appeared on stage in a shirt and full length chinos, which was a refreshing change from all the crop-tops and short short skirts we’re so used to seeing on 4Music.

Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip

Ok, so now we’re getting into some emotional territory. Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip are were one of my favorite bands. So you can imagine how I felt when they announced this was to be their last gig. Actually, I was fine with that. See, they had a three album deal with Sunday Best (Rob da Bank’s label), and they’ve produced three fantastic albums. I’m actually quite happy they’ve decided to quite while they’re ahead. It means we’re left with 3 album’s worth of songs, and 7 years of memories. (Or ya’know, release a multitude of bad records, and then sell their soul to popular talent show. I’m looking at you Ricky Wilson. Such a waste. Such a terrible waste). Rob himself introduced them in the Big Top on Sunday afternoon, which was unusual, and he made a speech about how great they were and blah blah blah, which was lovely. Their set was, as per usual, astounding. (Though I may be a bit biased). Pip posses a rare talent to switch from dark, harrowing lyrics during the songs to throw jokes at both Dan and the audience.

London Grammar

Though I like their music, a lot of it’s quite hard to dance to. Hannah Reid has a cracking voice, which means there’s always the danger that it will be 45 minutes of us watching her hit very difficult notes very well. And although that’s better than a poke with a sharp stick, we could get the same effect by spending £5.99 on a CD and listening to them that way. Unfortunately, I found that was pretty much what happened. People around me seem to enjoy it though, and I can’t say she’s not talented. But the whole show ended up with people looking up at four people on stage, in silence – much like this (credit goes to beeb & Glastonbury for that vid) – because no one has the self confidence to sing along – waiting for them to end. I’m glad I’ve seen them, but I feel no desire to see them again. I mean, Reid didn’t even take her coat off. Very little movement.


I’m going to end this on a positive. Foals. After all the dance-y bands, disco music, and singers with laptops, it was nice to see some people with actual guitars. The Foals know how to play a crowd. They came out, covered in glitter and those fantastic gold leggings. They started with ‘My number‘, getting everyone to dance the cold away. They managed to get everyone singing, to their less well known tracks. Defiantly Festival material.


Isle of Wight Festival

The Isle of Wight Festival has been dubbed ‘the crappy mainstream festival on the island’ – mainly by me and my friends. However, it being run by John Giddings, and the amount of money it makes means it can afford to have some high-class acts. (Whether they go for them or pick a Top 40s band with 3 singles is another matter)

Unfortunately, due to ill health, I only managed get to the festival on the Saturday, and went home after the headline act. But, what a headline act. The Red Hot Chili Peppers were fantastic. I don’t care if you’re a fan or not. They can do a live show. (To be fair, they have had the practice…touring for some 39 years)

I will start with the bands on before them, starting with John Newman. To be honest, I wasn’t much of a fan before I saw him, and he’s by no means my favorite artist now. But, I do harbor more respect for him. He’s a charismatic individual, managing to get the crowd on his side, including many of the adults (and by adults I mean people that were only waiting to see the specials) He also has ample of talent, which is always useful. The fact he had a brass section on stage was a bonus.

The next band to come on where indie hit makers The 1975. I had seem a part of their set the year before at Bestival, and was fairly unimpressed. When Matt Healy (lead guitar/vocals) came on stage, he looked like he thought the 70,000+ crowd we there solely for him. Which, is fair enough, a large portion probably were. However, he barely acknowledged the crowd. The band came on, played their set, and left. The seem to be having ego-issues fairly early on in their career, which is never a good sign.

After a feet-achingly long time, the Specials made an appearance. They have been around for a long time, and it shows. Not only in  their faces, but also in how they play the audience and get them dancing. As far as Ska goes, Madness, in my personal opinion, do out-rank them, but that’s not to say they aren’t good.

Then came the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I had seen them a couple of years ago when they were doing an arena tour, and wasn’t too impressed. They were good, but avoided playing many of their hits, focusing on their newest album (at the time I’m with you) This was fair enough, as they were on an album tour, but it would have been nice to here one or two hits. They set at the Isle of Wight festival was completely different. Yes, they played all the hits, all the songs the crowd wanted, but they also just jammed on stage. It was like watching them practice for a gig. It was lovely to see Flea, Chad and Anthony mess around on stage. Flea came back on for the encore doing a hand stand. How many bass players do that?