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Review: Katie Doherty, Gala Theatre, Durham

IN the Gala’s intimate studio venue the decidedly laid-back crowd eagerly await the appearance of Katie Doherty and her band.

IN the Gala’s intimate studio venue the decidedly laid-back crowd eagerly await the appearance of Katie Doherty and her band. The narrow room has a buzz about it and when the folk trio wander on stage a warm ripple of applause fills the venue.

Katie starts on piano with an old song, Sing Softly. A former Newcomer of the Year at The Journal Culture Awards, the Tees Valley-born, and now Newcastle-based, lass is regarded fondly in the region as the appreciation of the audience demonstrates.

A few songs in and the set starts to liven up with Something Warmer, a track Katie describes as “a folk I Will Survive”.

It’s here that the trio really start to show what they’re capable of. Peter Tickell on fiddle particularly impressing with a tune lifted from the traditional Copernicus.

This is closely followed by murder-ballad Snowdove. The vocals really stand out in the sparse opening but half way through the backing from Tickell and Ian Stephenson, on double bass, picks up and the track moves to an almost jazzy ending.

The evening is a mixture of song and story. Katie’s anecdotes have the crowd laughing and joining in. The tales aren’t merely incidental. This being folk music the story-telling and history to the songs is almost as important as the songs themselves. Something which Katie and the band fully understand.

Midway through the second set Katie leaves the stage and lets her extremely talented sidemen take centre stage. Both are accomplished performers in their own right and I would say for some their four-song interlude was the highlight of the night.

During the night there are detours into some blues and bluegrass in the set but it’s on the folk songs where the bands abilities and the performance really hit home.

Paul Clifford

 

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