11th April 2016.
Tonight’s audience were definitely long term fans of Nerina Pallot, or were at least definitely more clued up than just knowing her one ‘famous song’ (more about that later) and her latest album.
When Samuel Taylor, (a member of Nerina’s band) and Rebecca Van Cleave appeared on stage to start the nights proceedings, they received a very warm reception from the very quiet; but appreciative crowd. As Samuel strapped on his acoustic guitar and harmonica there was a noticeable silence of anticipation; but once the duo started, the crowd were most definitely ready; for Samuels and Rebecca’s songs; and each one was received with generous applause from the rapidly filling audience; as the couple’s vocals blended brilliantly together to fill Sage 2 with a simple; but memorable Americana sound; notably the song, The Artist and Fading Away.
Hall 2 was near to capacity, and the stage was set with only a piano to the left, as Nerina made her entrance in a glittery green dress. Dressed for the occasion, she made it look even more stunning as she grabbed an electric guitar to open with the energetic If I Had A Girl from her latest album, The Sound And The Fury.
For the third song she sat at the piano and finally acknowledged the crowd ; joking ‘it is a Monday night crowd,’ with the emphasis on ‘Monday night’ as the crowd sat in silence. Later, she even pointed out, ‘you just want me to shut up and sing; cos that’s what you are here for.’ For me, this made her even more charming than I’d expected; in fact it made me just want to go to the pub with her, as I think she would have brilliant banter – or even invite her to a dinner party – as long as she brings her chicken curry and not celleric soup!! (you had to be there)
Staying at piano we were introduced to Boy On A Bus, which is more or less her love/hate song to London. She has spent the best part of her life in London and luckily knows her geography of the city unlike where the Humber River is. Thankfully she knew we were in Gateshead tonight and not sitting in Newcastle Upon Humber.
We are then taken through a few solo numbers with just Nerina at the piano, which she now calls Stella, as the band disappear. We are also told that she has tried her best to include the favourites of her extensive back catalogue; but of course there will be a few missing that will not please people, so it is request time. An audience member shouts Time Won’t Wait. She’s hesitant as ‘it is quite hard’ but although she says we should not please people too much, she really gives her all in the little rendition much to that man’s delight as well as the rest of us. Another request is shouted out but that IS really hard, so instead of ‘murdering the song’ she suggests we go home and play it.
The band rejoined her on stage as she decided to change the set at the very last minute; because someone on Twitter ‘told her off’ for not singing a particular song the last time she visited. Her reasoning being that she’d played it far too many times on that tour. When asked, the person did not make themselves known, so if you are reading this, then just remember Everyone’s Gone To War was for you instead of There Is A Drum. It seemed to work in her favour though as there were a lot more heads bopping and even my row of seats were moving! I was not that Twitterer but going back to the start, I am among those who only really know Nerina for that song and more fool me, as tonight makes me want to kick myself for all the old gems and live shows I have missed, as a Nerina Pallot show is something not to be missed, especially if you want a night of chat and good music and possibly even a few glasses of wine, as it sure did look like she was enjoying some, as did Becca from the opening act! Or it could have been juice dressed up fancy!
We are then taken to the last song of the evening and the silent crowd becomes that little bit noisier with handclaps to Hands Up. There were a few that even took to clapping along with the drummer, which confused a few people. It was to be a perfect closer to the show but then she returns on her lonesome to the crowds insistent encore claps and foot stomps and as she reappears someone shouts out Sophia and she agrees she is quite predictable as she takes to the piano giving us a most mesmerising performance under red lights to end this perfect evening.
L’il Vik…..the Little Magpie