Katie Doherty

Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle

7 February 2020

This is the first gig promoted by the "Folklub Newcastle", which aims to put on a handful of concerts throughout the year in the Alphabetti Theatre. It's a new venture that appears to be the brainchild of Dave Grey (melodeon player with Katie Doherty and the Navigators and other bands), and on the strength of tonight's showing really deserves to succeed. The Alphabetti Theatre is a good venue for it, a very nice atmosphere and comfortably packed with around 80 people (seated—but some future gigs will be standing, Dave tells us). And Dave is the ideal host for the evening: he's a natural comedian, a really friendly guy, and I have literally never seen anyone get so excited about holding a raffle!

The first act is Jack Rutter. I saw him at The Sage last year and was very happy to see him again. He's a great traditional singer, a phenomenal guitar player, and a really funny storyteller. He played for around an hour, was hugely popular with the crowd, and at the end of his set I felt like I'd got my money's worth already.

But still, I came to see Katie Doherty, and after Jack got an hour, the interval over-ran, and Dave's entertaining raffle draw went on and on, I started to worry she would get a very short set.

In the end she also played for around an hour, which was fine as it felt like Jack Rutter was an equal headliner rather than mere "support band".

But still, Katie Doherty is the reason I'm here, and I am not disappointed. She opened as she has done before: walking through the crowd singing A Rose in Winter unamplified and unaccompanied, and it's so beautiful. With only an hour, she doesn't play everything I want to hear (she never does anyway, it would include all of Bridges and need a concert of at least two hours), but it's still an hour of her best songs from And Then. All the ones designed to make me cry. Plus one new song in the encore, which obviously I've already forgotten the name of but sounds as good as anything she's done, and I hope it means a new album is in the works.

I've said it before but I'm going to keep saying it until the whole world believes me: Katie Doherty is just the most beautiful song writer in the world.

And I've said this before, but I always mean it: best concert I have ever seen.