Nick Mulvey at the Unitarian Church – Review
On Saturday November 16th English singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey played a small and intimate gig in the Unitarian Church on Stephen’s Green. The high-ceilinged and hushed venue only had a handful of people sitting in its pews when support act I Have a Tribe began his set. ‘Him’ usually being a ‘they’, on this occasion Patrick O’Laoghaire was representing the band by himself as his fellow bandmates had previous arrangements.
Nonetheless, Patrick did an exquisite job and put the audience under a sombre spell with his sweet vocals paired with skilled piano and guitar playing. One of the highlights of his opening act had to be his rendition and piano arrangement of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’. He closed his eyes, getting lost in the music and emotion radiated off him that could be felt throughout the audience. Throughout the set more and more people had been filtering into the pews and when it was time for Mulvey to take the spotlight it was a full house. Finishing with one final number ‘Monsoon’, he thanked the crowd for coming and left his position.
Mulvey walked out to the front of the church in his laidback attire comprising of baggy jeans tucked into his long socks paired with a back-turned baseball cap. He raised his guitar, messed with his pedals a bit and without a word went straight into his first song ‘April’. The quick-paced picking and melodic humming bounced off the walls of the echoing church and cast a skin-tingling effect. His second song ‘Juramidam’ seemed to have the same theme comprising of quick-paced picking and hummed interludes which this time were paired with pedals to give an echoing effect, adding to that of what the church was already doing. Mulvey gave a brief greeting to the crowd and changed up the set briefly playing an acoustic version of his song ‘Nitrous’. Having a jazzy feel from the guitar it paired very well with the slight huskiness of his voice.
Taking another brief break, Mulvey addressed the audience “Who’s up for an experiment?”. The crowd nodded their heads encouragingly while smiling and Mulvey began to play. Starting out as soft with hushed lyrics “I feel love, I feel loveeeee” as it progressed it seemed to be an elaboration that he came up with off the top of his head! ‘Cookuracoo’, ‘I don’t Want to Go Home’ and a very Spanish sounding ‘Venus’ followed along after which is when he thanked every one for coming and walked out of the spotlight into a side door.
But, of course, the crowd wasn’t having that! Eventually the clapping and whistling teased Mulvey back onto the stage and he played two encore songs because “I like you, I want to sing another song.” Finishing on ‘Ailsa Craig’, a more sombre number, the thoughtful lyrics connected with the audience and must have stuck with them during their walk out of the church into the brisk cold of a winter’s night.
Review by Miriam McGovern