Live Review: Nick Mulvey at the Royal Albert Hall


From the beginning, Nick Mulvey’s performance whispered understated skill: the cavernous hall 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.

Mulvey primarily achieved this through the fluid interplay of his soulful, expressive voice with the complicated guitar riffs sound effortless. The loudest cheers came when his voice surfed on the waves of emotion made by the music. April and Alisa Craig are perfect examples, and seeing a singer-songwriter hold a conversation with his instrument, instead of just reinforce 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 Mulvey’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.

Mulvey’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. Like 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.

Mulvey accepted the rapturous praise with grace and humility, honouring his supporting musicians Dan See (drums) and Nick Pini (keyboard and bass) 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 poignance 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.


Nick Mulvey’s new EP, Dancing For The Answers was released on the 18th May by Fiction Records. Watch the music video for Mountain To Move here:

Live image property of Paul Hudson


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