We heard that Nick Mulvey was playing at the Exeter Phoenix Arts Centre in October and were asked if we'd like to pop along, take a look and snap some pics, who were we to turn down such a gracious offer?
Sivu (aka James Page) is an alternative singer songwriter, hailing from St Ives in Cambridgeshire but based in London for the past 5 years.
He was picked to accompany Nick Mulvey on his tour, being the first night, one could expect some nerves as he walked out onto the stage at the Exeter Phoenix Arts Centre, the crowd hushed in readiness for his performance.
The first thing that struck me was his voice, so gentle, accompanied by an occasional falsetto, it glided effortlessly over his naked acoustic guitar (for which he apologised for over and over, claiming to be very ‘OCD’ about tuning!).
He played some older material as well as a couple from his debut long player ’Something on High’ that was released on October 13th. ‘I Lost Myself’ which was written about regret and self destruction, was performed brilliantly, the pain really coming through in his vocals. ‘Cold Hands’ complete with it’s splendid plucked strings and ‘Better Man Than He’ were performed and went down really well with the capacity crowd, the video that accompanies the latter track is quite amazing, it was filmed in a hospital MRI machine, amazing stuff.
He ended with a track called ‘Family Tree’ which was a firm favourite, receiving the best round of applause all night (so far), by now, the audience were well and truly warmed and ready for Nick Mulvey to take the baton.
We met up with Sivu after his performance and he told me that he usually plays with a full band, this is something I would really like to see and we hope to catch him again in the near future when he supports Bombay Bicycle Club on their November tour. Read the interview HERE.
So, with the stage cleared in readiness for Nick Mulvey’s band to grace it, we chatted to the sound engineer, shared a bag of Wine Gums (other sweets are available) and generally killed time until the lights dimmed, a cheer went up and one by one, Nick Mulvey’s entourage took to the stage….
Tonight was the first of Nick Mulvey’s October UK tour, many of the dates had already sold out when this went to print and tonight, he brings with him his handpicked band of drums, keyboards, bass (both standard guitar and double bass) and a backing singer/percussionist. They launched into ‘April’, a mixture of double bass and well picked acoustic guitar, backed by soft vocals. ‘House of Saint Give Me’ was another laid back, simple yet so effective track, played perfectly. ‘Meet Me There’ combined all instruments, booming into life, it really lit the room up.
‘Venus’ was kicked off with a simple but effective double bass line, Nick’s wonderful harmonics and the use of a long necked mandolin type instrument really added depth and volume to the track. Midway through the set, Nick’s band deserted him on stage and he played a couple of solo numbers, showcasing his professionalism and ability to prove that he is more than capable of carrying the songs just as well on his own as he would be by the band.
The band joined Nick once again on stage for ‘Nitrous’, a track that Nick admitted “changes every time they play it”…. ‘Drake’ saw the introduction of a steel drum type instrument that added a beautiful sound, I must say that it did remind me of a small Weber BBQ, but sounded a whole lot better!
Nick thanked the audience for being the best behaved that he had ever come across, this prompted a shoot of “Take your shirt off Nick” from the back of the room, I guess some folk don’t get out much on a school night!
They played ‘Cucurucu’, which built slowly, instruments slowly layering one by one until the drums kicked in and the ukelele and double bass delivered the groove, an amazing song that had the crowd singing along.
If you’re quick, you can get your hands on tickets for the remainder of his October tour, hurry though as once this is finished, I don’t think you’re going to be able to see him in such intimate venues again. In 2015, he is set to play the Albert Hall in Manchester and the Roundhouse in London, no doubt he will be the toast of many UK festivals throughout the summer.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Nick Mulvey is here, he is taking the nation by storm and I suggest you get on board for the ride!