Nick Mulvey at the Royal Albert Hall
From the beginning, Nick Mulvey’s performance whispered understated skill: the cavernous space of the Royal Albert Hall (almost totally sold out) juxtaposed his modest setup (four guitars, pedals, drum kit and keyboard rig). Then came Mulvey’s humble and relaxed entry. He just wandered onto the stage. He did this, however, to a hugely loving and vocal reception from the crowd, whose enthusiasm was consistently justified and strengthened as the concert unfolded.
The muscian primarily achieved this through the fluid interplay of his soulful, expressive voice, with the complicated guitar riffs sounding effortless. The loudest cheers came when his voice surfed on the waves of emotion made by the music. April and Alisa Craig were perfect examples, and seeing a singer-songwriter hold a conversation with his instrument, instead of just reinforcing himself with it, was refreshing. The resultant experience of April, and many others, was of total captivation.
Mulvey’s voice alone was impressive, however, and he applied it in a diversity of ways. In We Are Never Apart, his vocal flexibility was on show, and he flitted around his range with intense emotion. By contrast, Myela was a desolate cry of despair, and April showed the artist’s rich singing strength. Only displaying this aspect selectively allowed all the different dimensions of his voice to be heard. He was perhaps a bit too keen on vocalisations (Transform Your Game (We Remain)) but elsewhere (Venus) they fitted in very well.
The British singer-songwriter’s instrumental ability was also clear to see. The effect studying in Cuba has had on his music (both technically and stylistically) was evident, especially in Myela and The Doing Is Done. As with the vocals, Mulvey also gave his guitar a variety of tasks. At times (Mountain To Move), tightly strung, high-range chords provided the dynamic force that pulled the rest of the ensemble through, whilst at others (Meet Me There) nostalgic and emotive riffs were decorations to the sound.
Nick Mulvey accepted the rapturous praise with grace and humility, honouring his supporting musicians – Dan See on drums, keyboard and bass player Nick Pini – and the rest of his team. Their joint musicianship was certainly a tour de force, and they made quite a sound for just three people. The loving spirituality that pervaded the entire concert came through with especial poignancy here. Pointing upwards, he said his musicianship is like being a waiter: he doesn’t cook the food, he just brings it to the table.
Photo: Paul Hudson
For further information and future events visit Nick Mulvey’s website here.
Watch the video for Unconditional here: