Nerina Pallot @ St James’s Church 10th May 2012

February 2012 saw the one and only Nerina Pallot announced something rather special. This was Nerina Fest which would see Pallot perform 4 albums and 4 EP’s over the space of two nights. Only Manchester and London got to witness this monumental event. Once the dates were confirmed I was gutted to know that I could only attend the one as I was at another gig the night after. Still I was pretty excited as the 1st night Dear Frustrated Superstar and Fires were to be sung in there entirety. Now for those who are a fan of Nerina would know that she disregarded Dear Frustrated Superstar and only a few songs have been performed live since I first saw her in 2009. This album is in fact just under 11 years old.

Doors opened at 6pm and the spectacular show started at 7pm. I opted to sit in the pews away from the piano. The reason for this being that I would be nearer when Pallot was playing the acoustic guitar. Nerina took to the stage to plenty of applause and headed straight to the piano. Opening up the 1st half of this evening was If I Know You. There was no faulting the vocals and this song was slightly spine tingling as the acoustics in the church were immense. If I Know You was a beautiful song which had a soothing chorus as well. Once over Pallot headed to her guitar. Patience had crisp, incisive lyrics and was delivered to perfection with plenty of gusto. “Hello, good evening, welcome to Nerina Fest. Part half actually coz it’s an evening of 2 halves. I’m sure that you’ll all need a break after I played you my 1st album and EP. I know that I will. This is a feat of many. This is a song called Someday Soon. Actually this is one of the older songs I wrote. I started it when I was about 15”. Nerina played Someday Soon on the piano and it was rather hypnotic. This powerful song has a catchy chorus and has a good melody. “I feel like I have to practise a lot of the songs off my first album Dear Frustrated Superstar. I wrote this when I was very young” Pallot said before getting stuck into Watch Out Billie. This song was lovely and the use of piano and glockenspiel made it rather mesmerising. This number was a warning to a young female would be pop star about the perils of fame. Its lyrics were superb and the chorus was rather upbeat. Daily Bread had upbeat lyrics and this song sounded slightly country. It was then straight into Rainbow which had a powerful and highly infectious chorus. “This is a song a lot of you thought you would never hear live. That last song I wrote on a washing machine. I just feel like I need to share that with you. To mask the noise I would put the washing machine on spin cycle, sit on top and write songs. I wrote Rainbow, Very Good Sir and I wrote Jump that way, lots of them. Patience is also written on a washing machine. This song I didn’t write on a washing machine. This song I wrote in a really horrible flat and I spent one miserable year of my life living in Kilburn. There’s nothing wrong with Kilburn, I just wouldn’t recommend living above a Burger King. It’s haunted me for many reasons” Nerina said before Alien. This being the final single that was taken off this album. Alien was a steady paced piano driven song which was really infectious. It was then back to the piano for Jump and during this song you knew this was going to be a PG rated Pallot performance. Still this number was rather amazing with fantastic verses and one luscious chorus. Very Good Sir told of an ex who kept cocaine in his bathroom cabinet. It was then onto the albums title track and this being Dear Frustrated Superstar. This number was a smooth ballad which was rather strong in parts. Its lyrics were ever so beautiful. It was then onto Blood Is Blood. I found the chorus to be really catchy. Blood Is Blood was delivered at a fast pace. Plus you could feel plenty of energy oozing from this number. “I’m going to take this opportunity to introduce you to the wonderful musicians” Nerina said before introducing Sarah on cello and Charlotte. God was rather beautiful whist My Last Tango was perfect as the vocals were really strong. “That was the last song proper off my 1st album Dear Frustrated Superstar. And then this was considered the bonus track. I don’t know why it was called the bonus track. I wanted it to be a ghost track” Pallot then went onto say before delivering Daphne & Apollo faultlessly. This song is about a couple who are in a relationship even though there is a distance between them. Once over it was then onto the chilling It Starts from the Buckminster Fuller EP. This song was extremely gentle and Pallot delivered a starting performance of this song on the piano. “I really like this next one. I really enjoy playing this song, I don’t play it live often enough. Sometimes I wished I’d taken The Graduate in the direction more of this song” Nerina said before The Long Tall Grass Of Summer. This song was rather powerful and sounded slightly folky. In fact I have never heard this song performed live before. The use of Charlotte and Sarah on strings really added to the song. “Some of you may of realised that I’m doing my 1st EP. In order to make this work tonight it felt like I should do an album and EP. So forgive me if you were expecting anything in exact chronological” Nerina said before getting stuck into Girl On A Wire. This number appeared as a B side to I Don’t Want To Go Out. Like The Long Tall Grass Of Summer this track had been neglected. Still Girl On A Wire was a sickly sweet number which was played at a steady pace on the piano. Once over Pallot then blitzed through the song which followed on and this being Buckminster Fuller. “We’re nearly there folks. You see I’m half wondering when they designed churches pews were made so uncomfortable so that you could really relate to God in his moments of uncomfortableness. God in case you’re listening the pew thing it doesn’t work it just put me off you for a long long time. I could of bought a cushion. Just putting it out there God if you’re listening comfy seats” and what ended the first half was Better Than Today which is a Kylie Minogue song which Nerina wrote. Still before it was given away it appeared at the closing track of the Buckminster Fuller EP. At first she played this upbeat song on the guitar before stopping mid way to perform it on the piano. Better Than Today was packed with a punch and was a song about dancing.

SET LIST

If I Know You
Patience
Someday Soon
Watch Out Billie
Daily Bread
Rainbow
Alien
Jump
Very Good Sir
Dear Frustrated Superstar
Blood Is Blood
God
My Last Tango
Daphne & Apollo
It Starts
Long Tall Grass
Girl On A Wire
Buckminster Fuller
Better Than Today

Nerina Pallot found herself without a record label as herself and Polydor parted company after the release of Dear Frustrated Superstar. 4 years later Nerina released her sophomore album Fires in April 2005 on her very own label Idaho. Subsequently this album became a commercial success and spawned the singles Everybody’s Gone To War, Damascus, All Good People, Learning To Breathe and Sophia. At the end of 2005 Pallot signed to a major record label 14th Floor and Fires was then re released the following year. After a 20 interval Nerina Pallot emerged from the back and headed to the guitar for Everybody’s Gone To War. This was an upbeat rock’n’roll track with an killer chorus that begs to be sung along to, as well as being a protest song. “Thank you for coming back. I’m a bit neurotic and I always imagine that people would leave” Pallot mentioned to the audience. Halfway Home sounded brilliant and the use of the flute was rather hypnotic. Even though this song had a steady pace I found it rather upbeat and powerful as well. Damascus showcased Nerina’s excellent silky voice and the range it covered. I found the chorus to be rather heart warming. Idaho followed on and like the prior number Pallot was on the piano. I really like this song it is played at a steady pace and the lyrics were strong. “I don’t know if I should say this or not or I should tell you but that’s my favourite song on it that I love singing and means the most to me. I don’t want to sound over dramatic or anything but I think sometimes we write songs to save ourselves. It lovely to have written something that I think means something to other people. I can’t play that song without having life slap me in the face like a fish. Just thought I would tell you that. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love playing the other songs” Nerina then mentioned to the audience. All Good People was straight after and this was a smooth pop song which was belted out. I found the lyrics to be rather catchy. It was then onto Mr King. This was a nice track which started off slow and then gathered pace. Nerina’s boss 12 years ago was called Mr King and he tried to warn her about the music industry but Pallot didn’t listen. It was then onto a watered down Geek Love. This piano driven ballad was about making love. I liked how the melody and lyrics gel together. This number was delivered strongly and had a steady pace. ”So what I wanted to do for these shows is to wear an item of clothing that corresponds to the time. I rather let people in Salford down last week because on the 2nd night I had my Graduate/ Year Of The Wolf outfit all ready but it was so cold because it’s like Maycember right now. Some of you may of seen the video for the following song. This is the very same dress what I wore in the video. I have fond memories of making the video for Sophia. I went to Morocco. It was only meant to be for 2 days but around that time it was during the new security alert. All our pyrotechnics got held up. But luckily insurance paid for it and I ended up getting a week in Morocco” Pallot then said before launching into the next song of the evening. Sophia was a ballad of desperate, burning, and unfilled love which sounded rather beautiful. At first Sophia started off at a slow pace but as soon as Nerina reached the chorus the pace picked up. Learning To Breathe was a lovely song which is one of my many favourite from Fires. The lyrics are catchy and it gels well with the melody. Heart Attack was slightly dark and had a powerful chorus. “And so this is the last song off of Fires. This is a song called Nickindia and lots of people have asked me why I called it Nickindia. I’ll just be quite honest with you I wanted to write a song like Nick Drake if he had gone to India” Pallot said before Nickindia. This was one of the least cheeriest songs from Fires. Vocally this song was delivered to perfection. I was hearing it live for the first time and it sounded extremely different compared to the other 10 which had been sung. “And now I feel slightly foolish because we’ve gone from like quite proper things to songs about taking your clothes off” Nerina said before kicking off the EP. Junebug was a love song which had a risque opening line “Lets take off all our clothes, And wander through the fields”. This was a lively guitar song with some fantastic lyrics. I especially liked the line “How did we know, when we met, we would feel this? How did we know it would be so beautiful?”. “Don’t go, don’t leave me” Pallot said to a couple of people who were exiting the church. “I love you” was the reply and Nerina quipped “Not enough clearly”. It was then straight into Bloom. This song describes a girl who grew up believing she’d make it some day, and at the same time a woman who asks ‘Do you wish your life would go another way?’. “Apologies, I knew it was too good to be true. I scuffed up the middle 8 of that song. I had a momentarily mental flush. This song is very appropriate now because we are in this blokes/ subjects house” Nerina went onto say to the audience before God Of Small Things. This beautiful song actually reminds me of Samson by Regina Spektor. “If you hate it as much as I do I would gladly give you a refund for the part of the Junebug EP. It’s a pound I believe. Some people amazingly quite like this song. Briefly for me this song just reminds me of the pressure upon me to come up with the 2nd Everybody’s Gone To War” she went onto say describing her hatred for How Do We Cope. This song was very up beat/ up tempo. Despite what Pallot said this was an amazing song but I can see the reason why she doesn’t like it. “This is the last song of the whole Part 1 of Nerina Fest and I would like to thank you all so much for coming. Its been really lovely learning a lot of these old ones again” Nerina said before wrapping up the evening with the powerful This Will Be Our Year. This beautiful song was about making do and keeping on keeping on, because everything brightens up eventually.

SET LIST

Everybody’s Gone To War
Halfway Home
Damascus
Idaho
All Good People
Mr King
Geek Love
Sophia
Learning To Breathe
Heart Attack
Nickindia
Junebug
Bloom
God Of Small Things
How Do We Cope
This Will Be Our Year

OVERALL: It was ashame tat I couldn’t attend the 2nd night but what I witnessed was jaw dropping. It was an absolute honour to hear Dear Frustrated Superstar played out live. Some songs from that album are awesome it is sad that not many have been played live at past Nerina concerts. As for Fires that album was delivered to perfection. It is a favourite of mine only because it spawned songs like Everybody’s Gone To War, Idaho, Sophia, Learning To Breathe and Geek Love. Whilst Dear Frustrated Superstar is packed with hidden gems. Also the EP’s were fantastic to. It was wonderful to see Pallot perform Better Than Today (which she gave to Kylie Minogue). All in all this was a wonderful night which felt ever so special.

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