Nerina Pallot * * * *
at Warwick Arts Centre
Review by Chris Field
Nerina Pallot returned to the Butterworth Hall and showed the near capacity audience just why she has recently been nominated for a Brit award as Best British Female Singer.
She produced a 70-minute set of peerless music, drawn from her two albums without the safety net of a band behind her. It was unplugged in the true sense of the word and Nerina rose to the challenge admirably.
She has always said that the Steinway piano at the Arts Centre is one of the best instruments she has ever played and she proved it with a spirited version of Idaho as her set opener.
Hearing the song stripped back from the version on her breakthrough album Fires made you realise its strength both in words and melody.
When Nerina switched from grand piano to guitar and finally electric piano, the story was the same – the songs were the focus.
Both her new single, Learning To Breathe and Damascus took on a new life as stark and spare reflections on the human situation.
It wasn't all serious, though. With a mischievous twinkle, Nerina asked if anyone in the crowd was on a date and when one brave couple said yes, she dedicated Geek Love to them with the explanation that "this song is all about shagging."
With a little bit of Tori Amos and Kate Bush in her performance, she cuts a figure that varies from the dramatic to the fragile, but is never less than riveting.
Her voice is strong and she has a wonderful range, and she does write the most delicious melodies to her words.
It's a cut throat world when it comes to female singer songwriters, but thank God we're blessed with their talents and especially those of Nerina Pallot.