The RedHouse, Kildare, 5 April 2001
Sometimes it pays to sit at the back of a gig. Sometimes, watching the audience will tell you as much about a performer as memorising every detail of the performance. This is definitely one of these gigs. They don't get much in the way of trendy indie music down this way.
The Red House is situated by the side of the N7 motorway in the heart of Kildare, in the middle of nowhere. You would think that the indie glitteraty of Naas and Newbridge would be here. Instead the crowd of mostly made up of their Mams and Dads, regulars at this venue who are used to a staple diet of Scullion and Luka Bloom.
In this kind of strange surrounding, and coming not so fresh off the back of a "good weekend", you fear for the wide eyed boy with the just out of bed head. No need however, two minutes into "Sound Fades With Distance" couples heads are already lolling on each others shoulders, and I mean that in the good way. By the time Diarmaid MacDiarmada joins Mr Kitt on stage, three songs into the set, the audience is pretty much won over. It's at this point that Kittser starts making use of programmed drums and looped samples, not to mention Diarmaid's saxophone and clarinet. Using so much technology in a venue like this was always going to be a bit ambitious and there are a few slight mis-cues for a while. Fortunately, David Kitt is a competent enough musician to carry it off.
You can tell that David and Diarmaid are a bit taken aback at the silent respect that the music is being given. They mention more than once that if people want to go outside for a quick smoke (smoking is banned in the venue) then they can feel free, much to the amusement of the audience. Before the last song, Kittser himself makes his excuses and heads for the Gents, rather than rush his performance. Not too many people take them up on their offer anyway, especially during a note perfect performance of new single "Song From Hope St." This, and the a cover of Prince's "When Doves Cry", provide the highlights of the evening. Partly because they are the only songs which don't owe a clear debt to Paul Mcartney's "Blackbird" and partly because they show Kittser's voice at its polar opposites and most soulful.
That's David Kitt's main strength as both a performer and songwriter, he can sing you to the heights of summer one minute, and pitch you into the bleak mid-winter the next, if only for a small moment.
Also check out the review of David Kitt live in Vicar Street