VIDEO & INTERVIEW: 'Why I sing in a Kate Bush tribute band' by Lisa Oliver
ETHEREAL, elemental and exotic – Kate Bush was the raven-haired, other-wordly teenager who made a somewhat melodramatic entrance into the music scene in the late Seventies.
Her memorable debut album, The Kick Inside, was a brilliantly weird collection of songs conjured from the fertile inner life of a girl with a hauntingly ethereal voice.
How fitting then that this weekend, which marks the 35th anniversary of the album's release, a Kate Bush tribute band will be playing in Bideford.
Not just any copy-Kate group either. One that has the seal of approval from the Kate Bush fans' news site (katebush news.com) as well as, apparently, from Bush's bass player and long term musical collaborator, Del Palmer.
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"It's one thing to have real, hardcore fans of Kate's music saying that they are loving what we're doing but it takes it up a whole other level when you get someone like Del Palmer stating that my vocals are the closest to Kate's that he has ever heard," says Cloudbusting's Kate-sing-alike, Lisa Oliver. "He had trouble at first trying to work out if our version of Army Dreamers was the original. It's a huge accolade."
Bush has been Lisa's favourite singer since the age of 10 with the 1978 release of Wuthering Heights – the first time a song, written and performed by a woman, reached number one in the UK charts.
"When she first came on the scene there was no-one else doing what she was doing," she says. "She consistently writes and produces intelligent, quality music. Plus, she is quite an enigmatic figure, having opted not to play the fame game years ago – she only really wants to be seen and interviewed when she has some new music to talk about."
Lisa has been singing along to Bush albums since childhood and the voice similarity appears to be completely natural.
"My family would encourage me to do the Wuthering Heights routine every now and then over the years. I haven't had lessons or anything like that and I do emulate some of her phrasing which may not otherwise come naturally to me to sing. Other than that it's just luck I guess."
Even so it must be hard to recreate on stage, songs that Kate has never actually sung live herself – after all that's everything since 1979?
"The four musicians in Cloudbusting are brilliant at deconstructing the tracks and working out how they can be performed on the live stage," she says. "For me, it's been a lot of fun sourcing the right costumes and props to match the different songs and give that Kate Bush vibe."
Lisa certainly doesn't want to be a carbon-copy Kate.
"What we do is reference the familiar costumes and routines for some of the songs and use our imagination of how Kate would present them herself, were she to ever perform live again," she says. "The audiences so far really seem to appreciate that we're not doing an impersonation, so I think we have the balance just right."
Their set includes songs from all eras of Kate's career, right up to her latest album, 2011's 50 Words For Snow. As Saturday's gig coincides with the 35th anniversary of the release of The Kick Inside they will also be playing a special selection from that album.
And, as Bush has repeatedly refused to play by the pop industry rules, this might just be the nearest fans get to seeing her live.
"We are so used to seeing 'celebrities' splashed all over the telly and the Internet and appearing in reality shows eating bugs or whatever that I suppose it does seem odd to some people that Kate Bush doesn't do those things," she says. "She lives her life quietly, I guess, and just gets on with writing and making her music. I can't say that she will never play live again, all us Kate fans would love her too ... who knows? But, yeah, come and see us in the meantime."
Cloudbusting are at The Palladium Club, Bideford on Saturday, February 16, 9pm. Tickets: £5 on the door.