Katie Doherty

Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle

4 December 2019

I knew this would be a very short set from Katie Doherty. The main event of the evening was the premier of a new dance film, Bridges, produced by Esther Huss, and to be completely honest I had no interest in films about dancing. But as it was a conveniently local gig I thought it was still worth going to listen to Katie even if only for a few songs, even if the rest of the evening wouldn't be my thing.

First impressions of the Alphabetti theatre: it's really nice. The performance space is a decent size, fitting 60-ish people easily on raked seating while still allowing a really large floor space. And the foyer is full of interesting things to look at while you're waiting. And it just generally feels welcoming. A great addition to Newcastle's ever-expanding number of small venues.

So after thinking I wouldn't be that impressed by the film, I was actually ... very impressed by the film. It's a project where Esther Huss went round Europe asking random ordinary people to join in a simple dance, and spliced them all into a short film. And the result is ... surprisingly moving. Really, I found it quite emotional to watch, and that's not just because the soundtrack was one of Katie Doherty's songs. What elevated it was Esther Huss talking extensively about the project and the people in it. She drew the audience tonight (literally, physically) into the project, her passion for it was infectious, and the (completely non-political) message behind the idea of bringing together people of different countries and backgrounds was a really powerful one. I was captivated by the whole thing.

So in the end Katie Doherty, backed by Dave Grey on melodeon, only sang seven songs. But just seven of Katie's songs are enough to make the best concert I have ever seen. Her songs are just that beautiful. That's all I can say.

It was completely, absolutely, worth taking a chance on an evening that I thought wouldn't be my thing. Because the whole evening was, surprisingly, really my thing after all.