Well it sure was a thrill to brave the traffic disaster that is Poolstock Lane at 5 o’clock on a weekday evening again. As ever the first 3 miles of my journey took twice as long as the next 25 miles of it. But that’s life I suppose; not that that will stop me moaning about it! It did give me plenty of time to listen to the Klaxons album though – review to follow at some point.
After hitting the big M it was off to the Oxford where I reigned supreme on the Golf machine (well there is a first time for everything) and then off to the kebab shop for a bit of jackbit. Having arrived at the palatial (or not) Manchester Academy 2 earlier than we might otherwise do (i.e. more than 5 minutes before the headline act) we wandered in to check out the support act Tom Baxter. 15 seconds later, and that is no exaggeration, we were heading to the bar. Sorry Tom; I’m sure you’re a lovely bloke but you weren’t for me.
Still we had a drink, Gee criticised Nerina’s sister (I bet he wouldn’t have done that if he’d known who she was at the time ;-D) and then we went back into the auditorium for the show itself.
And what a show it was. Nerina was a little quiet in terms of audience banter to start with but she hit the ground running with a lovely version of Idaho and from that moment on was in the form of her life. It wasn’t until her version of Frank Mills (taken from the musical Hair) that the usual Nerina style banter flowed out – she informed us that she felt the song was about “unrequited shagging” and then pondered whether that was possible – and she did seem to loosen up after that. We got tales covering dreams about old boyfriends, Brit award nominations (she told us she wasn’t going to win it but that it would send her record sales through the roof), trying hard not to drink a bottle of red wine a day – it was a nice Jacobs Creek on offer on this particular occasion – and how never getting recognised on public transport is starting to piss her off.
But what really stood out, as ever, was the quality of the songs. Few performers could be as beguiling and charming performing a solo set like this, with Nerina switching between piano, guitar, and synthesiser to perform tracks from both Fires and her debut album Dear Frustrated Superstar. Particular highlights for me were 57 Flavours, Heart Attack and the final song of the set, Sophia. Indeed, my annoyance with the two people behind me who’d been chattering away throughout the set finally boiled over during the latter as I somewhat snapped and told them to “fucking shut up.” That they did somewhat lessened the shame of my outburst, but to be honest, I was only saying what a lot of people around me were thinking.
Having seen Nerina play support at the smaller Academy 3 when only four people actually took advantage of her signing session afterwards, it gave me a warm feeling to see her pack out the larger Academy 2 as a headliner. In fact her success is almost enough to reaffirm my faith in humanity. Doesn’t hurt that she’s bloody lovely either does it?
Learning To Breathe
All Good People
Blood Is Blood
Love Will Tear Us Apart
Dear Frustrated Superstar
Daphne & Apollo
If anyone can tell me where Mr King was in the set list I'd be obliged. EDIT - Thanks to anonymous for clearing that up :-D