Live Review: Nick Mulvey – The Ritz, Manchester

Last Wednesday night, Manchester’s hearts and minds were won over by sensational singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey and his own modern tribe of bandmates. Not only promoting his second album Wake Up Now, but also his evangelical message of peace, love and unity; Mulvey was filled with enough enthusiasm and positive energy to stir the rain sodden group of Mancunian spectators into a state of applause and elation.

Opening with Remembering, it was clear from the onset that this was no solo performance, the band were celebrated and as important to the show as Nick himself. Vocalists Fifi Dewey and Isadora Tanner brought stunning vocals and uplifting percussion to the stage (note: this aspect to the set was clearly particularly pleasing to the man stood behind me whom charmingly muttered “I like them girls shaking them shakers” as only an earnest Mancunian could), while guitarist/ pianist Frederico Bruno used his platform to speak to the audience about St. Frances – he spoke about the prospect of ordinary people working together to create the impossible, and supported Nick’s widely publicised sentiments about the Refugee crisis in passing a bucket around the crowd to raise money for charity Help Refugees UK.

The gig itself was more than just that. It was a political moment. Mulvey asked the audience if they were enjoying the album and when he was met with cheers and applause he explained “the album has a message, and we believe very strongly in that message” – lyrics were developed throughout the night to fit this ‘message’ and engage the audience further with the band’s political agenda. Throughout Myela (the track written about the refugee crisis), the audience responded suitably, they clapped and chanted “I am your neighbour, you are my neighbour”. A beautiful and connective moment. As the song became about war – “everywhere is war, war, war in the south, war in the east, everywhere is war” – the audience danced and nodded and it felt that everyone was on the same page and together. It was quite something. Older track Juridiam, was turned on its head entirely; the background tune was used while the band chanted the mantra “who is our mother, these are her angels, this is her kingdom, she is our mother”.

In spite of all of the spirituality, politics and fundraising that featured throughout the concert; Nick Mulvey was as charming and lovely and wholesome as ever. He is a performer who wears his heart on his sleeve while the audience melts in response. Since he last toured, Mulvey has got married and had a baby boy. He discussed how fatherhood has changed him and explained that wee Inka was fast asleep on the tour bus outside The Ritz. A highlight of the night was when a hardcore fan managed to coerce the artist into singing a tune that he had written when he was 18 about his godson. Another highlight was when Nick’s bandmates left him alone on the stage for a mass acoustic rendition of Nick’s big single Cucurucu taken from his debut First Mind – it was goosebump worthy, really.

I doubt there will be a day when I write a bad word about Nick Mulvey for TFFT, and today is certainly not the day. The night provided a beautiful insight to the fact that every single member of the band playing with Nick Mulvey believes in what they are doing, and that they are enjoying it just as much as the audience are. They are partying and revelling in their promotion of Wake Up Now. There is a good energy surrounding this album, and it is growing at speed.

Jessica Newsome