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Kate Rusby

Venue: The Sage
Town: Gateshead
Date: 21/12/18

The past few years, one thing has become synonymous with Christmas for me; Kate Rusby's Christmas show at Sage, Gateshead.

Accompanied as ever by her band, including husband, Danien O'Kane, and the aptly named, Brass Boys, Kate brought Christmas to every corner of the room. She soon had the entire audience singing lines back to her and clapping along, exactly as it should be with Christmas music. Her down to earth, laid back personality shines through as she tells stories of her children and dogs and laughs and jokes between songs.

The stage was, as per tradition, decorated with more lights than Santa's Grotto and looked stunning; joining the musicians on stage was the all new Ruby the Reindeer, who this year, to the amusement of all present, nodded her head in time to the music!

Hailing from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, is where the beauty of Kate's Christmas songs lies; the majority are collected from pub get togethers across Yorkshire, where traditional carols are still shared. The rest, she found from a similar tradition in Cornwall.

Not one to monopolise the limelight, she also stepped back to allow 'The Boys' as she affectionately calls them, to deliver a set of tunes; every bit as good as you'd hear at Transatlantic Sessions.

It is difficult to choose, but highlights of the night for me included; Hail Chime On, Sweet Bells, Joy to the World, Deck the Halls, the sad tinged Santa Never Brings Me a Banjo and the fabulous Big Brave Bill, based on a story for her daughters. Of course, we were also treated to three of the thirty versions of While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By night; Kate joking that she is contemplating a tour to solely sing the thirty versions in their entireity!

I had wondered how they would follow last year's encore whereby they all dressed as part of the nativity scene; I shouldn't have questioned - this year they all returned to the stage covered in various forms of LED lights. Kate's lights were none other than inside her very fetching fur gilet!

All to soon the night was over, but Kate and the boys left us with a more than generous sprinkle of musical Christmas magic. I left the Sage feeling the most Christmassy I has felt this season.

Thanks all and here's to next year! We'll deck the halls ready for you.

Helen Mitchell

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