Definitely a bittersweet event as Kirsty MacColl would have been 51 on this day and should of course be here to perform her own songs. Instead we’re celebrating her life and songs after her untimely death following an accident which has still not been properly resolved. (See the Justice for Kirsty link below).

So, my old mate Phill Jupitus is the compere for this one as a selection of her old friends gather for this sold out tribute.  There’s a decent sized band on stage too comprising three piece brass section, lead and rhythm guitar, double bass/electric bass and percussion. David Ruffy, (drummer in one of my all time favourite bands The Ruts) is of course on drums here tonight. He work ed with Kirsty MacColl for years and is best placed to lead this band.

All her great songs are represented, with the following people coming on stage one at a time to sing: James Walsh, Mary Coughlan, Boo Herwerdine, Eddi Reader, Ellie Goulding, Alison Moyet, Billy Bragg, Andrea Corr, Amy McDonald and Catherine Tate. It’s an evening of good old sing-alongs and near the end Kirsty’s mum Jean comes on stage to talk about the Justice for Kirsty campaign and the legacy of her daughter.

It’s an emotional evening, but it’s full of highs like Billy Bragg singing “New England” (including the two extra verses he wrote for Kirsty when she covered the song in 1984) and Kim Wilde’s spirited version of “They don’t know”. Brian Kennedy singing “Don’t Come The Cowboy With Me Sonny Jim” got the crowd singing along, as did most of the artists, and Phill Jupitus gave a good rendition of “Fifteen Minutes”, ending with a “Fuck you Simon Cowell” that got a huge cheer. 🙂

Other highlights for me were Eddi Reader and Boo Hewerdine singing “Dear John” and Ellie Goulding performed a great verison of  “Soho Square”. Catherine Tate was also good and gave an enthusiastic performance of  “In These Shoes”, relishing the parts sung in Spanish like she’s sung this a hundred times before. She used this song for her first TV series and is obviously familiar with Kirsty’s work.

As Shane McGowan hasn’t turned up (no surprise there), David Ruffy duets on “Fairytale of New York” with Amy MacDonald (who has previously covered the song). Probably Kirsty’s best known song and one that gets everyone singing along like it’s already Christmas. That only left the finale, in which Phill Jupitus led all the artists and the crowd in a rowdy version of “There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis” while huge pictures of Kirsty were displayed on a backdrop.

All in all a great tribute event to a great artist, and an event that should happen every year.


Catherine Tate’s take on “In these shoes”