I made it upstairs in Tuts just in time to catch the last 4 or 5 songs from Kitty The Lion, AKA singer-songwriter Anna Meldrum and her backing band. I immediately recognised Anna from the Connect Festival back in 2008 when I liked her solo acoustic set. Unfortunately I didn't like her first song about 'Bird Seed that was trying a little too hard to be quirky, funny and clever. Things didn't really improve through the next couple of songs with the band seeming a little one-dimensional. Debut single 'Lion In The Bed' lifted things slightly and the closing'Catalytic Converter' ended the set on a pelasing note, a more upbeat song with the band and Anna gaining confidence and warming up.
The next support act was Brother Louis Collective. With a flutist and clarinet player taking to the stage, along with a double bass player (who was also in Kitty The Lion) I was immediately interested to see what sounds they could produce. The band impressed - they were tight and the second song in allowed the flutist to create some lovely melodies and the clarinet player came in at the end with a brilliant solo, with the resulting jam taking the band into a kind of 70's rock direction. Although I quite enjoyed the bands set, I couldn't help but think that the vocals didn't match the music at times. The flutist and clarinet player were creative and inventive with their melodies, with singer struggling to create any to match his lyrics.
And so on to the headline act; Pearl and the Puppets. I caught Pearl and the Puppets for the first time at King Tuts back in January and then at the Wickerman Festival in July when Katy Sutherland (Pearl) excelled, first by headlining the Solus Tent with a full band, and then playing acoustically on the main stage. I was keen to see how the band had developed over the last twelve months.
The band started nervously, perhaps due to the three photographers in the press pit at the front of the stage. Two of Pearl's MySpace hits 'Mango Tree' and 'Because I Do' were tossed into the set early on and quite a lot of the crowd seemed to lose interest after those songs. 'Because I Do' is surely going to be a hit single in 2010 - simple pop that will have kids humming along on first listen.
Judging by the amount of chatting going on through Pearl and the Puppets set, many had been driven to Tuts out of curiosity and were either not impressed enough or too drunk to listen to her songs, which is a shame as the band were clearly annoyed and disturbed by the chatting. It was a short set, with nothing really of note to get excited about with the highlight being the encore - a solo cover of 'Use Somebody' followed by a full band version of 'Make Me Smile'. It was interesting that Pearl (Katie) seemed most comfortable while playing solo and the beautiful cover of the Kings Of Leon smash hit was easily the song that saw her seem most confident.
It's still early days for Pearl and the Puppets and with a crack management team and major label backing 2010 promises to be a big year. Tonights show wasn't their best gig, but the band are still relatively new, they are certainly very young, and a couple of tours will see them feel more at home on stage together.