Nathan Ball at the Omeara
Nathan Ball steps onto the stage of the Omeara, with its with golden proscenium arch, sporting all-black jeans, button-up shirt and bedhead. His gig is sold out – to his surprise, he says. “When I heard we were playing this show I thought we’d be playing to a couple of people. It means the world to us that you guys are here.” His sincerity is endearing.
He launches into his set with recent single Cold Hands, the atmospheric echo of dual telecasters giving an almost new wave feel, but Ball’s voice is straight from the contemporary soul book. He has more than a touch of Ben Howard and Ed Sheeran, blending an emotive warble with an underlying rawness; the line “I spent a long time waiting to call you a friend” rings out with pathos.
The audience sways from side to side, lulled and entranced, but they know all the words, particularly when it comes to fan favourite Right Place. They sing along in unison on the chorus, which in a venue this small is positively choral, and hand-claps add to the song’s anthemic feeling. Howling demonstrates a coarser side to Ball’s repertoire and he treats those assembled to a stripped-back and far more evocative version of the recorded track.
The band are professional throughout. Whilst experiencing sound issues and waiting for them to be rectified, the musicians treat the audience to an ad hoc instrumental performance. This British artist won’t win any prizes for originality – right now the music industry is not in short supply of emotive male singer-songwriter types. But Nathan Ball manages to stand out in a crowded room; his songs have musical and emotional depth, and he is a pleasure to watch. It’s no wonder his show is sold out: his audience, shouting requests across the din, can’t get enough of him.
Photos: Sherry Li
For further information about Nathan Ball and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Right Place here: