At most industry showcases, especially ones with open bar, the artist's performance seems secondary to schmoozing, but tiny NYC club Berlin was pin-drop quiet for the whole of Kate Tempest's set on Tuesday night where she performed her new album, The Book of Traps and Lessons, in its entirety. The audience, which included Robyn and JS Ondara, hung on every amazing word. The new album was produced by Rick Rubin and longtime collaborator Dan Carey and is her most subtle, sonically, to date, more spoken word than hip hop. It’s also her most personal, dealing intimately with love and relationships while still, in her own unique way, viewing such matters against a state-of-the-world backdrop. Kate is a magnetic presence and has an amazing ability to find humanity in the bleakest situations, none so more than on the new album's closer, "People's Faces" that goes from her admitting "my country's falling apart" to holding onto "so much peace to be found in people’s faces." To get to see her basically face-to-face was a real treat.

While in town Kate will play Late Night with Seth Meyers tonight. Tune in.

Check out pictures from the show in the gallery above. Kate will be on a short North American tour this fall and if she plays anywhere near you, you should go. That tour includes a Brooklyn show at Elsewhere Hall on October 1 (tickets).


photos by P Squared

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