Home   News   Article

TikTok star Katie Gregson-MacLeod's performance to win Inverness home crowd

By Margaret Chrystall

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!

REVIEW: Katie Gregson-MacLeod

Eden Court, Inverness

5 stars

How do you conquer the world in 10 songs?

It’s not easy, but a good start might be to ask someone like Katie Gregson MacLeod who has already done it in one.

Katie Gregson-MacLeod on stage. Picture: James Mackenzie
Katie Gregson-MacLeod on stage. Picture: James Mackenzie

Last summer the Inverness singer songwriter arguably found millions of people were pushovers for Complex, the kind of song that reaches in and helps itself to vulnerable hearts and the kind of people (all of us) who surrender when messy relationship stories we understand all too well are whispered into our ears by a voice naked with emotion and so rich and deep you are lost at the first listen.

And don’t get me started on the piano-playing.

To be honest we might have been OK on Saturday if it wasn’t for the funny too, the banter that saw the first killer song I’m Worried It Will Always Be You just fade out perfectly before Katie wryly commented: “I wasn’t fishing for more applause!” And this dream home crowd laughed and melted into heartfelt ‘Woo!’s and, yes, rapturous applause.

Cosy set in the OneTouch for Katie Gregson-MacLeod. Picture: James Mackenzie
Cosy set in the OneTouch for Katie Gregson-MacLeod. Picture: James Mackenzie

Saturday was always going to be one of those nights in Eden Court’s OneTouch where, as Katie grinned: “It’s nice to be here,” like a veteran musician, before laughingly undermining the moment – “Everyone I’m related to, I think!”

And even the tone created by this precious talent - now better known by the term “viral sensation” after Katie’s TikTok success of 2022 – was spot on. Charming and funny, Katie was effortlessly informal with us too – and openly experiencing and sharing the strange conflicts of her first tour.

“This is so funny, I can’t see anyone!” she said after To Be Eighteen, one of the songs from last December’s Songs Written For Piano EP. Asking for the lights to be turned up to see the people hidden by the OneTouch’s darkness, the singer laughed, the sight of the lit throng of faces quickly freaking her out.

Katie Gregson-Macleod on stage. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Katie Gregson-Macleod on stage. Picture: James Mackenzie.

And later, again asking for the lights to go up after her perfectly-chosen, Katiefied cover song, the sight of us out there freaked her again: “Oh my gosh, it’s so weird! I don’t like it, turn it off! But I know where my gran’s sitting now!”

From the start of this 10-song gig, with its cosy sitting-room set, complete with standard lamp, rugs and potted plants, you were caught in a weird space-time anomaly.

As Katie leant her head back in the piano outro of the opening song, so sophisticated and easy, you could imagine you were in some intimate New York venue 30 years into a lifetime of gigs and stardom, somewhere far down the line of global sellout shows that should lie ahead for the young musician. But also, there we were, lucky enough to be witnesses to this moment, a landmark moment, here and now, sharing this first home gig of a rising singer finding her feet after the world came calling and discovered a fully-formed talent polishing all the skills.

Katie’s support acts made good company.

The ripening songwriting powers of Highland singer-songwriter Moteh Parrott created the perfect opening set for this special evening. Laughing, he shared the experience of getting used to the many posters only giving his surname one ‘t’.

“It’s such a weird name, I let everyone off,” he grinned.

Afterglow, with its quirky whistling and reminder of Moteh’s soaring vocals, opened a set that buzzed with songs you wanted to hear again, (he promised an album is coming soon) – the tribute to his mum who died last year, Make Peace With Yourself, love song Map The Lines and for his closer, out of leftfield, unique and powerful, an elegy in Song For The Insects ­– “notice the empty air, the silent trees”.

Bonnie Kemplay. Picture: James Mackenzie
Bonnie Kemplay. Picture: James Mackenzie

Tour support Edinburgh singer-songwriter Bonnie Kemplay giggled as adjusting her mic-stand drew strange burping noises out of her mic before starting with Nineteen.

But the winner of Radio 1’s Live Lounge Introducing talent search in 2021 brought us beautifully-stark ‘bedroom indie sadcore’ songs with new favourites to love such as Static with its clever post-millennial lyrics ­– “Switch me off and on again … trade me in and say ‘this one’s broken’!”

There was a heartfelt love declaration to Katie’s dog Otto and Bonnie shared how developing repetitive strain injury in her arms meant a worrying time during her studies in Manchester unable to play guitar.

There were tantalising glimpses of the on-the-road life of tourmates Katie and Bonnie, matching tattoos, stars “looking like an exploding tyre” – one of the adventures on their travels. And introducing Checkers, Bonnie revealed: “It’s Katie’s favourite song of mine and she keeps singing it at me in quite a silly way. I’m going to sing it in not quite as silly a way, I hope!”

Tour support Bonnie Kemplay joined Katie Gregson-MacLeod for Body. Picture: James Mackenzie
Tour support Bonnie Kemplay joined Katie Gregson-MacLeod for Body. Picture: James Mackenzie

Katie asked Bonnie on again to play for the first time Katie’s song Body, revealing – “I’ve never played it live before!” and the courage was rewarded as the duet sounded as if both had been playing it for years.

Sharing the story of how she had chosen her cover song for the set, Katie admitted it had been done on Sunday for the tour starting on Tuesday. The Sugababes had been her original plan.

“I used to play covers gigs all the time from 17,” Katie shared. And joked: “It’s an easy route – if you mess it up no-one cares, so I just chose the Beatles!”


But a few lines into the singer songwriter’s version of In My Life, little Katieisms made it hers, bringing a lump to the throat at how perfect a choice the song seemed, in this hometown venue, in front of these many familiar people.

Lines like “… people and things that went before/ I know I'll often stop and think about them…” almost made you miss that the song is about now, the present – “But these memories lose their meaning/When I think of love as something new/ In my life, I love you more.”

Katie Gregson-Macleod on stage. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Katie Gregson-Macleod on stage. Picture: James Mackenzie.

The present has come calling for Katie Gregson-MacLeod.

Maybe the perfect reminder came with her last number, the big one, Complex, that opened this latest phase of her career.

“This is a song that did a lot of things for me …” Katie introduced it, performing it beautifully, till she messed up a bit and laughed at herself.

Maybe ready now for what’s coming next.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More