King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow has the most iconic of venue reputations in Glasgow. It has an intimate club feel and has a reputation for breaking new bands in Scotland, as well as hosting well established bands who want to play an intimate gig, where they feel really connected with their audience. You walk up the winding stairs from the bar, and as you enter into the performing area there is always a real frisson of excitement, as you see the King Tut’s logo shining out from the stage. It was very apt then that Nick Mulvey played his first headlining Glasgow show in this amazing venue. This tour does have the feel of a major talent on the verge of a significant breakthrough, particularly with his much anticipated debut album due in 2014.
What you quickly notice about Nick live is both the wonderful intimacy of his songs, but also his ability to get a groove going, that seems to intoxicate his audience, as heads and bodies sway. His command of this audience was evidenced in one stunning moment as Nick from the stage in the softest of voices and with a lovely waving in hand gesture said “meet me here”. And at that, everyone moved forward and huddled around the stage. Fabulous and actually very moving! During the set we were treated to a spine tingling version of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”, which stripped down in this acoustic form, reminded you of what a great song it is. “Venus” had an intense and full on acoustic guitar work out that reminded me of John Martyn at his very best. I can’t think of higher praise. It sounded like Nick was playing several instruments rather than just a solo acoustic guitar, stunning!
For me the highlight of the set was “Fever to the Form” the title track of the current EP. It’s a song that really showcases his songwriting craft, with its lilting melody and dance groove; and lyrics that speak so wisely to the challenge we all face in coming out of our comfort zone, and reaching for being authentic and true to oneself. Try these amazing lines from the song: “Cos' the very thing you're afraid, afraid of, it keeps you clean but unclear, clean but unclear. Is the dirt that you're made, you're made of, and that’s nothing to fear, no, it’s nothing my dear”.
He is also a very generous artist. During his set thanking his "empathy warmed up" support artists. What a lovely phrase. When he came back on for an encore, he shared with us that his road manager had told him that there was not enough applause to come back on. The audience just loved this self-depreciation. The road manager needn’t have worried, as from my vantage point at the side of the stage, I saw an audience totally transfixed and in the moment with this immensely gifted artist.
You need Nick Mulvey in your life! Check out the interview with Nick here. Look out for his new album in 2014, and he is also playing some gigs in March, including the Electric Circus in Edinburgh, on the 5 March. Not to be missed!
Review/photos by Gareth Allen