Whilst Nerina Pallot’s albums are jam packed with instruments and arrangements, her live shows are usually stripped back affairs, showcasing her more acoustic style with just her piano and guitar for company. Tonight however, Nerina brings the Union Chapel audience an array of musical delights, featuring not only an ensemble of brass and strings but also a choir and special guest to boot. Whilst she may have had limited commercial success, potentially being made infamous by Everybody’s Gone To War, a song which in context is by no way her finest, this evening she reconfirms herself as a remarkable artist, with an abundance of talent.
Though she opens in her usual style, with solo versions of God Of Small Things and If I Know You, the moment the band strike up to accompany Idaho the night begins to lift off. The extra weight of the brass and string sections creates an added punch, whilst Mr King transforms itself from a noteworthy song, to one of the highlights of the evening, with the addition of a prodigious flautist. In fact, it’s fair to say that when Nerina and her flautist tag team again on Nickindia, she is almost overshadowed, by Charlotte Glasson’s outstanding abilities.
Later, the choir add yet another dimension to the proceedings, transforming the night from a musical extravagance, to a heavenly affair. Whilst it seems somewhat ironic to have them sing When Did I Become Such A Bitch? amid an alter, when combined with Nerina’s plum-lipped ‘arse’ mid song, it’s clear Nerina hasn’t lost her sense of humour as is apparent with the quick succession of unreleased Put Your Hands Up. She describes the song as ‘eurovision disco, that’s camper than Christmas’ but is in reality reminiscent of what Tori Amos might do, if she rerecorded Ottawan’s Hands Up (Give Me Your Love) and it’s this newer song which marks a sign of Nerina’s maturity as an artist and solidifying her ability to write in a variety of style.
Nerina follows this with a guest performance by current number 1 spot, Diana Vickers, singing Put It Back Together, a song which Nerina penned but never recorded. Couple this with a cover of Rickie Lee Jones’ heartrending classic Skeleton and the night is sealed as one of the highlights of her musical career. All it takes if for Nerina to finish the night with a rare treat from her debut album, in the form of aptly titled God and to follow it with an encore consisting of the poignant My Last Tango and the haunting Sophia and Nerina manages to reconfirm herself as a musical masterpiece. Able to envision and create songs with depth and meaning, they come to life when performed with a full arrangement, creating a spellbinding set, worthy of its standing ovation.
Photograph by Tarn Lake