|After having the good fortune of seeing Kate Schutt perform with her band (Duane Andrews on acoustic guitar, Patrick Boyle on trumpet and Noel Webb on drums) during the Partis Gras Festival in the Distillery District, I was salivating at the prospect of a similar languid, laid-back experience.
This performance, a duet with Kate Schutt on guitar and vocals accompanied by Noel Webb on drums, was a testament to their individual virtuosity and musical synergy, exhibiting more power and providing greater impact than the aforementioned gig.
C'est What, with its excellent sound system and cozy intimate feel, provided the perfect backdrop for Schutt's sultry, earthy vocals and the luxuriously textured instrumentation.
|Well, as usual, Schutt was full of many surprises for her eager audience on this evening. And, after becoming familiar with Ms. Schutt, I am now aware that she is never one to be satisfied maintaining the status quo, always striving for that musical 'high note'. Her chameleonic powers provide a different performance and a variety of levels to hear, absorb, and appreciate the unexpected nuances of her repertoire each time she plays.
Schutt and Webb opened their set with "Mary", which they radically altered from the more thoughtful, resigned version which appears on the album No Love Lost.
The same was true of their rendition of "How Much In Love" which was polished up as a more riveting, high-powered version than usual. Webb, the force behind the high power on this piece, took over the room with his sharp drumming.
|"I'm Yours, also from No Love Lost, with its gorgeous bluesy, jazzy guitar introduction was also given a surprising twist. It then continued into a heady Boz Scaggs wrap me up, "take me up your stairs and don't look back" vibe that sashayed its way through the song.
A luxurious flowing of a fine wine vibe occurred on "Peter, Please" with its expert percussion alternating between slick and pulsing alongside more demanding than usual vocals. Schutt's precise playing on this version was so intense that each handpicked vibration of her guitar strings, with its bow and arrow effect, could be felt rippling through the room. And, judging by the rousing applause, this piece was undoubtedly 'shaking the trees' of one and all.
Unsurprisingly, the duo was greeted with loudly enthusiastic applause after her seriously stilettoed "These Boots Are Made For Walking" channeled version of "Wrecking Ball", a song about a femme fatale. The slick guitar riffs and cool drumming provided a perfect foundation for the knowing lyrics. Afterwards, Schutt laughingly informed her audience, "That one always gets a big clap. It says something strange about you all", which had the audience joining in on the laughter.
"Miss Calamity" showcased Schutt's vocal abilities on another level as she effortlessly reached and held an impossible note into infinity mid-song. Very impressive. And, once again, it landed squarely on her unsuspecting audience.
Another unusually performed piece was the wistful, "It's Raining", which began with the intensity and exhilaration of a tropical downpour, continuing on with an upbeat, carefree flow and ending with the sunshine heat of an original, super slick guitar riff.
Together, their set was smooth and groovy with the majority of pieces chosen from Schutt's current album, No Love Lost. The two final pieces, Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It?" (introduced by Schutt as being one of her first musical influences) and Patty Griffin's "Go Now" were both awe-inspiring in their imaginative reworkings and complemented her own repertoire. As the evening progressed, the room warmed up with each intensified version of their songs.
Schutt and Webb maintained their high-energy show from start to finish providing interesting and adventurous departures from the original songs found in No Love Lost. Schutt's warm and inviting presence, one thing that never changes, endears her to audiences as much as the very original heart-wrenching lyrics and the dreamy sway and swoon inducing music she provides. Her performances are never complacent and always involve surprises.
She has been showcased on Bravo!, among others, and is currently gliding swiftly up national jazz radio playlists. Although this performance was in Toronto, Schutt's fans from Guelph (where she is currently based), Hamilton and other locales came in droves to hear her.