A Love Letter
Charlotte Hatherley, King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, 18 September 2009.
Thank you Charlotte, for a wonderful evening; I had the time of my life.
When we arrived around 8:30, my wife Linda and I were greeted at the door by half of the other members of the Charlotte Hatherley Fan Club that I've started in my office, and his pal. Let me say right now, your fan base expanded this night.
I do hope you enjoyed our humble Glasgow venue, despite a couple of teething troubles getting the sound set up for you. In addition to being a great wee pub with its own special honey-flavoured lager and a great line in curry, King Tut's Wah Wah Hut is "a legendary showcase for new and emerging talent", local and otherwise. Tonight you were preceded by Uddingston's finest: the jazz influenced, piano led and bassy Nespresco, who were followed in turn by the very freshest cream of Auld Reekie's School of Art: the acclaimed, happy electro Futuristic Retro Champions. Their irresistibly singalong Jenna was, as always, such a feelgood highlight of their set - hope you had a chance to catch it.
But this night was yours, and from the moment you came on stage, cursing like a trooper against those equipment problems, then like a trooper, playing through it all regardless, I felt in awe; the presence of rock royalty.
Supported by The Crimea’s lead guitarist Andy Norton on bass / guitars, and the brilliant Alex Thomas (Squarepusher, etc) on drums, you flew rapidly through a quartet of new songs: Colours, Full Circle, New Worlds, Little Sahara.
I sang along with you on all but the last of these, having stalked these songs continuously on the internet for many months, checking for posts and torrents several times each day, until I'd build up about half an album's worth...
My amazing wife Linda is very well trained. Her slight frame flew back and forth repeatedly at the front of the stage, ensuring that I would at the end of the evening, with zero effort on my part, have literally dozens of great photographs of not only "my girl" as she calls you, but also your accompanying musicians, in fast and fluent action.
"Those were new songs, this one's older. Wounded Sky," you announced, as I yelled "Oh, yes, please!" recognising a personal favourite. The softer tone continued back into your new material with the intro to forthcoming single Alexander, followed by Straight Lines, then back out for a trio of older favourites, Behave, Sister Universe (wondrous surprise!) and - after leaving the stage and teasing us with feedback for a few minutes - the brilliantly rocking and immortal, kilogram plus of perfect pop-rock, Summer.
My beautiful wife Linda, dedicated companion and veteran of many a Yes gig, is very well trained, as I might have mentioned already. Knowing my memory for a setlist, she made sure to snap the one on the stage front. Not to mention snaffling it the very second the gig ended (erm, yeah, sorry about that...)
The encore continued with pace through another couple of new songs, the masterfully hook-laden White, and the beautiful Cinnabar, finally ending with your first ever solo single, 2004's tribute to Kim Wilde.
You were so very gracious during signing after the show, where I waited at the end of the line, to have my earlier purchase New Worlds autographed. It was particularly pleasing to see half of the other members of the Charlotte Hatherley Fan Club that I've started in my office, and his pal, clutching a just-bought copy of Grey Will Fade and queued up for signing!
My devoted wife Linda is very well trained. Who else would have pestered you repeatedly, against my disingenuous protestations, so that I could have a couple of pictures beside "my girl"?
After The Garage And Mr Chips
We were still playing New Worlds on the car stereo, as we pulled in to the Barrbridge McDonald's 24-hr drive through, around 2am (it's a long story, but see para header for a hint). Linda remarked that the CD lyrics could have been printed a little more clearly, for lighting conditions such as these, while I tried to explain how I love your music for the music - though your lyrics are certainly a lot better than most, they're not part of my infatuation with your work. See, it's all about the choppy chords, creative fills, beautiful original melodies, and the geeky patterns hidden behind all that.
So, next time: exactly how I fell for Charlotte, in excruciating detail.
All photographs copyright © 2009 by Linda Kerr.