Music review: KT Bush Band, Summerhall, Edinburgh

The KT Bush Band
The KT Bush Band
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Kate Bush only ever embarked on one tour in 1979, effectively retiring from playing live before undertaking her 2014 residency at the Hammersmith Apollo. But before the release of her debut album The Kick Inside, she gigged regularly in pubs and clubs around London with musicians Brian Bath, Vic King and Del Palmer, performing covers and originals.

KT Bush Band, Summerhall, Edinburgh ****

Guitarist Bath and drummer King still helm the KT Bush Band, performing a wide complement of Bush’s material with bassist Steven Bevan, keyboard player Emily Francis and vocalist Sallie-Anne Hurst, who has the unenviable task of delivering Bush’s extraordinary gymnastic vocal arrangements.

Technically, Hurst was up to the job but, from the opening bars of Moving, it was evident that she favoured self-conscious, slavish imitation of Bush’s idiosyncracies over inhabiting the weird prog pop spirit of the songs as disarmingly conveyed by the band.

However, the crowd were quickly won over by oddball rockers Don’t Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake and Violin, with Hurst also supplying the frantic fiddle parts. There was a warm reception for a couple of Bath originals and respectful hush when Hurst dialled down the melodrama for This Woman’s Work, and then turned it up to 11 for a torrid, showstopping Breathing.

In the second set, an underwhelming acoustic Wuthering Heights gave way to the stylised fun of Them Heavy People, quirky melodrama of Hammer Horror and a lovable James and the Cold Gun, a staple of the KT Bush Band set in the late 70s, resurrected here with the familiar affection it merited. Fiona Shepherd