Friday, January 08, 2010

First Moonlit Fingertips of 2010 with Nick Mulvey

Thurdsday January 7th, 2010

Liam, Raven and Joel from Syd Arthur took time off from their recording session up at their South London studio to put on another of their monthly acoustic nights at Orange Street. Despite the heavy snow, there was a decent turnout, and it was a refreshingly attentive audience, too.

Liam (acoustic guitar) and Raven (mandolin and fiddle) played an impressive support set. Joel left the desk to join them on electric bass for the last two numbers - a lively "Pulse" (a SA song) and the Trilok Gurtu piece they've been playing recently.

This was followed by a truly excellent set from Nick Mulvey (perhaps best known as a member of the Portico Quartet, in which he plays the hang). I knew a few of his songs, having listened to what was up on his Myspace profile a couple of times that afternoon. Particuarly good was one about his godson, "All The Things You Are Not Yet" (what a treat to grow up having a song like that written about you!). He also sung a moving one I'd not heard before - "Northern Line" about a drunk old busker getting on the tube between Kennington and Oval stations, singing "If I Had a Hammer" (beautifully integrated into the song by Nick), and offering advice about living in the present.

He's got an impressively engaging presence, had EVERYONE in the venue listening throughout the set, hardly a word being spoken. He's got a unique, off-hand vocal delivery - really not trying to sing like anyone except himself, nice to hear that.
He ended with superintense version of "Lonely Moon" (which he claimed to have written with a headful of magic mushrooms). That song's got a strong Flamenco element, and carefully watching his finger movements, it seemed like there were an impossible amount of notes being produced. Very impressive guitar style - but not flashy, he's singing beautifully simple groove-based songs a lot of the time. And there's a strong African influence - one of his songs has a borrowed melody (and some singing) from a Congolese song, another from a Zimbabwean one.

I got to chat with Liam and Joel a bit (about how their album session's going, Joe Boyd's book White Bicycles and forthcoming appearance at Orange Street, this summer's Lounge on the Farm, and Nick Drake's mum's piano compositions). Canterbury's really lucky to have them putting in all the work they do to bring people like Nick Mulvey here.

A great start to the musical year.


Post a Comment

<< Home