“It’s good to be back Leeds”, explains Luke Sital-Singh after the opening number – Still – “and it’s good to get my happy song out of the way”
Such is the self-deprecating humour that characterises an evening with Sital-Singh, the now LA based singer-songwriter. Sure, there’s a melancholy about the material that he writes, but that’s exactly what we’ve all come here to listen to. From his debut album The Fire Inside, released in 2014 through to the current record Dressing Like A Stranger, Luke has created beautifully vulnerable stories, delivered with richness and texture.
This is carried through from record to live performance. Whether on guitar or piano, there’s a purity to the delivery of each number which brings us along on the emotional journey. There’s a beautiful control in Sital-Singh’s voice, showcased in his quiet, gentle falsetto and again when he unleashes the fullness of his instrument and captivates the room.
The Brudenell is set out like a jazz club this evening, with tables and chairs and it adds to the intimate atmosphere that the music creates. Songs about broken relationships, struggles with emotion enrapture the audience. Lest it get too depressing though, the patter between songs is top class, lightening the mood. Sital-Singh explains that it’s the first tour back in the UK since he moved to the US 4 years ago – “What the f*** have you done to the place?” he asks, to the delight of the crowd.
There’s also a laugh as he introduces us to “the death section” of the show – comprising the 2019 song The Last Day (written while he mulled over “what it would be like to live the last day of my life….because I’m a fun person”) and the exception 2017 ballad Killing Me.
Bottled Up Tight gets an outing in what had previously been a request section of the set up until tonight. It’s a great throwback to his early work and that potential has been realised with each recording.
It’s a well-crafted 16-song set, with the best known, most popular tracks delivered alongside some album tracks and rarities. The sound as ever in Brudenell’s Main Room is brilliant, reproducing the textures and emotions that you’ll hear on the record. It’s perhaps best illustrated in the first song of the 2-song encore – a cover of Tom Petty’s American Girl – where the excellent support acts Joni and Rick Leigh join Luke on stage. There are some delicious three-part harmonies and a rich and rounded horn performance from Leigh. The experience even elicits a smile from Sital-Singh, briefly breaking character as he’s clearly enjoyed sharing the stage with two other talented performers.
It rounds off a thoroughly enjoyable evening. The warmth towards all three perfomers as they met fans at the merch stand after the show is a testament to the connection people feel through the music. Hopefully it won’t be so long before we see Luke Sital-Singh back on these shores for another tour.
Call Me When You Land
Can’t Get High
Until the Night is Done
The Last Day
Bottled Up Tight
Me & God
Nothing Stays the Same