Not even mega fame can keep the jeans intact.The West Coast leg of KT Tunstall's current tour takes her to historic music halls like the cavernous confines of Los Angeles' Wiltern Theater, the fabled stage of San Francisco's Warfield, and the supposedly haunted Moore Theare in Seattle. Oh yeah, and she's also coming to Bend to play the less than 500 seats of the Tower Theatre.
Tunstall, of MTV and VH1 fame, is one of the most commercially popular acts to grace the theatre's stage in recent memory. The Scottish folk-rocker rocketed to fame in the last three years with mega hits like the thumping power folk standard "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree," as well as the girl-power fueled sing-a-long "Suddenly I See." Last fall, she released Drastic Fantastic, a record that proves Tunstall isn't the flash-in-the-pan popper that some may have written her off as.
While Tunstall is indeed a mainstay of adult contemporary radio, she's actually known to rock it with the best of them when she's up on stage. But...oh you knew there would be a "but"...on this jaunt through the U.S., deemed the "Campfire Tour," Tunstall is stripping it down, and pulling the plug on her band to display an all-acoustic lineup. This is somewhat of a surprise, considering that Drastic Fantastic is largely a rock album with heavier songs than the instant folk rock classics of her debut. But this turn to the soft side is probably for the best. Who knows if the Tower could handle a full on rock and roll show (even if it's a benefit gig for the local non-profit Girls Go Outside) from the likes of a bona fide star like Tunstall?
It might be simple and easy to consider Tunstall just another cute face whose talent is superseded by the mass-media hype surrounding her, but that doesn't seem to be the case with this artist. Her songs, while sometimes sugary and dripping with radio-friendly hooks, are well-rounded pieces of folk rock that prove the 31-year-old has studied the likes of Dylan and company. Live, her use of loop pedals to maximize the sound of even her solo shows hints at a musician whose popularity is a byproduct of her own curiosity and experimentation, rather than an adherence to pop star formulas for success.
Tunstall is about as big (at least in terms of record sales) as we're bound to get during our nine-month indoor music season, so let's not blow it with any cat calls, mid-song requests, or "less talking more singing" outbursts. If you attended either Allison Krauss last summer or Del McCoury a couple months ago, you'll know what I'm getting at here.
7pm Thursday, May 8. Tower Theatre, 835 NW Wall St., 317-0700. $37.50-$47.50.
Tickets at Tower box office and towertheatre.org.