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www.djburnham.com, Writing, Review of Nick Harper live at the Greys, Brighton, 1st December 1997, David Burnham, D.J. Burnham, Dave Burnham

Nick Harper at the Komedia, Brighton

Tuesday 23rd November 2004

Paula arrived at our place to drop off her stuff and we set off down the hill to the Komedia. As we arrived, Nick appeared at the box office and entered into earnest negotiations with the venue to sort out his guest list - it was apparently sold out before doors opened. We bagged a table at the front and chilled out with a few beers and a meal while watching the place steadily filling up.

Martha Tilston (daughter of Steve and now a local Brightonian - well Hove actually) has been supporting Nick on this tour. She had the grace of a young Joan Baez, with a crystal clear voice and an engagingly sparkling stage presence, reminiscent of Kate Rusby; it was lovely to see someone really enjoying themselves. She delivered a confident and enthralling set to a very appreciative audience. To find out more, check out her website: http://www.marthatilston.co.uk/

Nick bounded on about 9.30 and proceeded to build his set gradually, tuning the guitar down after a couple of songs, to sing lower and take some of the pressure of his voice. It was good to hear 'Two Way Thing' again for the first time in ages. After one or two pints of lager (one delivered on a tray by a budding beer roadie) he charmed the voice up to full strength and proceeded to deliver his usual robust performance. The crowd was slightly reserved to begin with, but after Nick's request for someone to heckle him, things rapidly got predictably silly. The banter with the crowd spurred Nick on and we were treated to the full range of his current repertoire. The new looping effects sound fantastic, particularly on the Hendrix-like number, complete with reverse, swirling guitar, multiple layering and superb live over-dubs. A poem came about halfway through the evening, something that Nick had apparently written in the car during his travels round Britain on the current tour. I can't remember the details, but suffice to say it was delivered in a theatrically Bardish manner and was great fun. After the traditional mid-flight string change, Nick encored with Riverside, chasing some people (who presumably had trains to catch) out the door and leaping up onto a table in the midst of the crowd for the rip-roaring finale. Much enthusiastic applause was followed by an amazingly fast emptying of the venue (well it was a Tuesday night and the time was approaching midnight). So cheers Nick for a great night - hope the voice holds out for the remaining dates (keep gargling the cooking lager).

Dave & Sue Burnham 2004

Photos of this gig can be found here

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