Horse McDonald is a well-known Scottish singer-songwriter and LBGT (lesbian, bi-sexual, gay and transgender) activist who is relatively unknown in Australia but has gained a cult following in the United Kingdom where she has also enjoyed some chart success. She has performed throughout Europe, Australia and the US and at one time toured with the legendary Tina Turner.
Horse likens herself to a modern day torch song singer and this is a fairly accurate self-evaluation. Her voice is warm and smooth and very easy to listen to and her songs, which she writes herself, are mainly about heartbreak, love, death and those who have hurt her in some way.
Engaging with the audience through a series of personal anecdotes, Horse shared with us the sadness of losing both her parents in 2007, the trials of touring with her band over the years and her fascination with Adelaide bogans. Every city has bogans, she says, but only in Adelaide are they outwardly proud of their mullets and bogan lifestyle.
The many musical highlights included Careful, Ghost and Alanna’s Waltz, and she had the whole audience join in a sing-a-long to her song The Speed of the Beat of my Heart. It would be great to see a live performance of a number of these songs as intended with a band and backing vocals, but Horse was still extremely engaging on the very bare and black stage at Fowlers Live with just a guitar that wasn’t even hers.
Horse proudly admits to not scripting or rehearsing her banter in between songs. Mostly the stories are entertaining, sometimes they are just a little too long and occasionally she loses track of what she was saying, but none the less this was a stunning performance full of warm personality, honest raw emotions and gloriously smooth vocals.
Reviewed by Ceri Horner
Venue: Fowlers Live, Lion Arts Centre, Adelaide
Season: 16 November 2014 only
Duration: 100 mins
The Feast Festival runs from 15 – 30 November 2014.