Review by Faye Smith
10/10/13 KOKO – Camden, London
After trekking across London from the SW to North with a few hiccups along the way, namely bus 72 to Hammersmith aka the bane of my life, I arrived to Mornington Crescent. There, around the corner stood KOKO lit up in its purple prime. KOKO was a fabulous choice of venue for this gig. I’ve been there once before, during my first year, for a night out. Three years later, it’s still as magnificent with the massive glitter ball, golden angel statues and drama masks surrounding the stage. I do have to say though; it looks extremely different watching a gig in there in comparison to having a night out there.
Set up on stage was the Nina Nesbitt logo: it was a huge backdrop for the stage. Then, in front was a smaller backdrop with her supporting act’s name on it: Olivia Sebastianelli. However, the first person to come onto the stage was not a girl, so I assumed it was one of the guitarists. Wrong. It was Daniel James, a nice little surprise to the evening. He is a young, alternative lad who can play guitar and sing. Cue all the teenage girls in the room to scream. James kickstarted the mood of the night. An instant smile was put on my face as he started to play. That’s not because he was a good looking young man at all… Well, maybe it was partly that reason. He was the only one on stage, which drew the audience to listen to only him and his lyrics. His music is something that everybody should listen to, and I’m not saying that to just be nice. ‘The Stone and The Hollow‘ is hypnotic, mesmerising and a song you can listen to all day and night on a rainy day. ‘Jackdaw’ is more upbeat and strong, especially when performed live. His voice reached beyond the height and width of KOKO. I haven’t stopped playing his closing song ‘A Lonely Man’ all day. This song is full of promise as it embodies both the softness of his voice during the verse and the power of it throughout the bridge and chorus. It is a true accomplishment to music in this day and age. In short, Daniel James is someone to look out for this year.
Next on stage was Olivia Sebastianelli. She opened her set with one cracking performance that made the entire room stomp their feet. This girl has one powerful voice. If I didn’t take anything else away from her performance, it was that. She belted her lyrics out. Olivia blasted the music through her fingertips on her electric guitar along with her band who enjoyed jamming out on stage to the songs they performed. Her EP ‘Perfect Getaway’ came out last week. Songs she sang included ‘Rose Of Stone’ and ‘Perfect Getaway’ which were a couple of the less racy songs. In comparison to the other songs ‘Rose Of Stone’ was very soft, with a bit of a ghostly and eerie feel whereas ‘Perfect Getaway’ showed the more emotional side to Olivia’s music. Unrequited love comes to mind as a theme of these two ballads. The rest of her songs were feel good music: something to turn to when you’re feeling a little bit down one day. They will pick you up to speed in no time. She even calls one of her songs ‘The Sassy One’ for all us women out there.
Now for the main act…
When Nina Nesbitt arrived on stage, the whole of KOKO was booming. People were screaming her name, clapping and stomping wildly. I had no idea what was going on. To tell the truth, I hadn’t really heard of Nina Nesbitt before attending this gig. Now the name will stay archived in the musical drawer of my brain for a very long time. She came out with her band – the “Three T’s” – and an acoustic guitar, which she swapped part way through for an electric guitar. This girl is a little rock princess. At the age of eighteen, she has done well for herself after starting music at just sweet sixteen. Career highlights so far have included touring with Ed Sheeran and Example last year and ‘The Apple Tree’ going straight to #6 on the iTunes download chart. ‘The Apple Tree’ is the song she opens with and boy can she sing.
A song that stood out most for me was ’18 Candles’ which she sings about being 18 years old, a little older, a little wiser. I wonder what kind of song she will write when she is 21. It has a quick beat that makes you want to bob your head up and down, with lyrics that remind me of that time when I thought what every 18 year old thinks – I am on top of the world and I know everything. Other songs that I could relate to were ‘We’ll Be Back For More’, ‘Tough Luck’ and ‘Just Before Goodbye’. These songs all had themes of friendship, love and loss which we’ve all had during our late teens. ‘We’ll Be Back For More’ was upbeat and one to dance to. It was about having a group of friends and then going your separate ways and coming back together again. Something that my friends and I continually do a couple of times a year. Nina described ‘Tough Luck’ as an angry song, so if anyone was angry at someone, this was a song for them. It was more rock than pop. For ‘Just Before Goodbye’, Nina did something a little bit different. She played the piano solo. Just her and the piano. This is a song we can all relate to. It is about that point in time when you know that a relationship is going to end. Her emotion was raw during this performance and I believe every word that she sang. It was a beautiful melody that showed her stunning voice. Nina also sang ‘Don’t Stop’ which was chosen to be the soundtrack to the latest John Lewis advert so if you thought you hadn’t heard any of Nina Nesbitt’s music, you probably have. She claims that it was a very “surreal experience”.
During ‘Brit Summer’, Nina and “The Three T’s” had a major jamming session which saw Nina fly across the stage (not literally) with her electric guitar and go crazy during the instrumental. She also sang a brand new song that she had written quite recently. It is called ‘Peroxide’. She even brought the lyrics on a piece of paper to make sure she didn’t forget. It was amazing to hear brand new music.
Full set list:
Way In The World
Just Before Goodbye
We’ll Be Back For More
Noserings & Shoestrings
The Hardest Part
He’s The One I’m Bringing Back
Staying true to her rock princess form, she wore a grey grunge tee, black shorts with fringing and buckled boots that looked like they were from Topshop. As she sang, I thought to myself who could she be like, a modern day Blondie perhaps? This year’s tour was an incredible insight to today’s young music scene. I wish that there was more music out there like this. There probably is but it hasn’t been found yet. Nina Nesbitt will have an album out next year and a tour to follow.