Katie Doherty and the Navigators

Queen's Hall, Hexham

13 August 2021

The concert was in the library of the Queen's Hall complex, and I was expecting a pokey little room but actually it's a large space with a high, vaulted ceiling and plenty of room for chairs and the stage, with the band playing in front of a backdrop of bookshelves.

I always go to see Katie Doherty on my own, but tonight I'm with a friend and it's a bit awkward because I normally cry all the way through her concerts. So tonight I manfully hold back, even through such emotional songs as Yours, Heartbeat Ballroom, Navigator ... and then she sings a handful of brand new songs, and it's just too much. Even on first listen, I'm completely captivated by the stories she's telling—because that's her secret, her songs aren't just songs, they are stories about real people and things that her voice and music bring to life.

Most people reading this will know that my favourite music is big, epic, complex prog rock songs, with a massive, textured band sound from 12 different keyboards and a five-minute guitar solo in the middle. Katie Doherty doesn't do music like that, obviously. She's just got a piano and Shona's fiddle and Dave's melodeon. But when you strip the big, epic rock songs down to their basic elements of words and melody, none of them can hold a candle to what Katie writes. She just simply writes the best songs. That's all I can say.

Best concert I've ever seen. Of course.