Live review: Nina Nesbitt

Nina Nesbitt at Thekla, Bristol

Nina Nesbitt at Thekla, Bristol

The angelic Scandi-Scot embarks on her first headline tour after supporting Sheeran. We join Nina and her ‘Nesbians’ in Bristol

Possessing neither the equilibrium nor inclination to discover one, I’ve never experienced what it is to ride upon the crest of a wave. Gazing down on porcelain sand dotted with eyes that stretch out into infinity, as you are carried by nature’s fragile majesty. Well I may not have ridden on the crest of a wave but, at Bristol’s Thekla, I got to see one rise and the name of that wave was Nina Nesbitt.

It’s rare to see a venue squeezed to breaking point, for an artist’s maiden visit to the city in which they are performing. Nesbitt though, whose EP The Apple Tree reached number 6 on the iTunes download chart, has already acquired an admirably devoted set of fans, with one travelling from Dublin to make the gig. This devotion saw the Scottish songstress receive a rapturous applause upon taking the stage.

From the opening moments to the set’s climax, Nesbitt was exquisite. Performing songs from her two EP’s, The Apple Tree and Boy, as well as debuting a choice selection of unreleased songs, she displayed the songwriting skills that one would expect from an artist who has toured with Ed Sheeran. Particular highlights of her set were Seesaw, set closer The Apple Tree, a poignant rendition of Kodaline’s gut wrenching All I Want and the touching piano ballad Hold You – a readymade hit.

Despite the excellence of her songs, the most impressive feature of Nesbitt’s performance was her subtle, yet colossal, stage presence. She was fragile enough to draw your attention towards her, but strong enough to hold that attention tightly within her grasp and refuse to let it go. She also gave enough of herself to her fans that they could feel they were not just witnessing her performance, but were a part of it. She encouraged the audience to sing along and invited two supporters on stage, to sit on the tour bean-bag, for one of her songs. As the final notes of The Apple Tree faded into the ether, the rush to the merchandise stand engulfed the entire venue. Well, Nina had promised that she would be there to meet her fans, and it appears she’ll never let them down.

The excellent Azusa Plane once recorded a song called Every Wave Has Its Own Integrity. Based on this performance it won’t be long before Nina’s wave provides her with her own celebrity.

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