Gig review: Katie Keddie at Rough Trade

Words: Maddie Dinnage
Photos: Nigel King
Thursday 02 May 2024
reading time: min, words

Staying true to her dreamy, indie-folk roots, Notts-based singer-songwriter Katie Keddie transported the punters at Rough Trade to an otherworldly soundscape, delivering a highly anticipated EP launch party ...

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A year on from the release of her debut EP Alaska Sadness, Katie has put forth an equally introspective follow-up in the form of nothing much to say. Despite the incredibly humble title, the singer has listeners hanging upon her every word for the duration of four deeply poetic tracks. Her latest songs transfer blissfully over to the stage, her delicate melodies the
soundtrack for an evening of emotional catharsis.

Local artist Bram Bancroft takes to the stage to kick off the evening’s events. Having had the pleasure of seeing Bram perform several times before, I am consistently struck by his ability to bring a room to a moment of absolute stillness. With his delicate command of his guitar, and his smoother-than-honey vocals, Bram crafts his own personal brand of tangible melancholy, which both stings and comforts its listener. His talents as a songwriter are not to be under-estimated, as proven by you won’t feel a thing, a bitterly tender track dedicated to the singer’s own grandfather. Through his performance of the song, Bram uses bittersweet
imagery ("Eggs and soldiers, sides of dirt") to bind a feeling of warm nostalgia with devastating loss. Though it is by no means an easy listen, it is a triumph.

Sisters Beth and Em arrive onstage for their first gig as Fieldlily, bringing with them a series of wistful, indie-folk-inspired tracks. They were the perfect predecessors for Katie’s own set, as they share a feeling of earthiness in their gentle melodies, their harmonies like whispered
promises carried upon the wind. There is certainly a feeling of complete mutual understanding that comes with two songbirds from the same nest, as the musicians communicate fluidly through their own language of ethereal harmonies.

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When Katie begins her headline set, she starts at the very end of her EP, opening with song4. It feels like reading the very last page of a book before you start the story (in the best possible way). In doing so, Katie demonstrates her own musical growth, the subtle nuances between nothing much to say, and older tracks like Eighteen. Though the songwriter still stitches together her silken lyrics with the same thread, there is no doubt that time has enabled her to hone her craft, resulting in a setlist that is a tapestry of Katie’s own personal and artistic journey.

Throughout the course of the evening, Katie’s audience takes refuge within her imagined worlds of tear-stained faces and bodies kissed by emotional scars. New track blanket weight feels particularly poignant, as it grapples with feelings of failure and despair, a heavy burden which is felt in the overlapping ambient sounds, as well as Katie’s own aching vocals. In a very Joni Mitchell-esque fashion, Katie has the ability to take a seemingly indescribable emotion and give it a voice, along with the aid of her equally talented band.

Katie Keddie performed at Rough Trade on 26th April 2024. Her sophomore EP nothing much to say is available to stream now.


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