Nerina Pallot @ Birmingham Academy 2, 5th October 2011

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A live show by Brit and Ivor Novello Award nominee Nerina Pallot has become as much about the between songs banter as it has about the music itself — a fact she acknowledged herself.

After opening her show at the Birmingham Academy with two songs from her latest album — Butterfly and the single Turn Me On Again — Pallot took to the piano and addressed the audience for the first time.
She had, she said, been on the verge of an experiment on her tour and we were going to be her guinea pigs. She had intended to play the whole show without speaking to us. But she knew some people came for the anecdotes and meandering conversations and so decided she couldn’t go through with it.

Good thing, too, as she was on sparkling form both with her tales and with her songs.

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The set-list was drawn from each of Pallot’s four critically acclaimed albums. Daphne and Apollo was a crowd pleaser from her debut Dear Frustrated Superstar and there was also a rare outing for B-side 57 Flavours.

Plenty of tracks came from her best-selling album Fires, including breakthrough single Everybody’s Gone To War, which Pallot admitted she had gone through a period of not playing live “like a petulant teenager” along with Idaho and the fantastic Geek Love.

There were songs like the pure pop brilliance of Real Late Starter from The Graduate and yet more numbers from recent release Year Of The Wolf including a first performance on the tour of If I Lost You Now — a song written about Pallot’s baby son.

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There was also Pallot’s own version of Better Than Today, which she wrote for Kylie Minogue’s Aphrodite album, which segued wonderfully into a quite brilliant version of Beyonce’s Crazy In Love.

And the banter was equally sparkling. A long-promised tale about spending Christmas morning in McDonald’s in Merry Hill had the crowd in stitches.
Much of the show was performed with a three-piece band but for the mid-section Pallot was left by herself to prove that she is more than capable of holding an audience with just a piano or guitar and that beautiful, disarming voice.

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Pallot closed the show with radio favourite Put Your Hands Up, but was soon encouraged back for an encore. The life affirming Human was the last we would see of the band. They departed to leave Pallot alone for her final number, the Ivor Novello nominated Sophia.
On record this song is guaranteed to bring goosebumps to the skin. Live, it does just the same. A perfect end to a damn near perfect evening.

Set list:
Butterfly
Turn Me On Again
Idaho
Real Late Starter
I Do Not Want What I Do Not Have
Everybody’s Gone To War
Daphne and Apollo
If I Lost You Now
All Bets Are Off
57 Flavours
It Starts
Geek Love
Damascus
Better Than Today
Crazy In Love
Put Your Hands Up
Human
Sophia

Review – David Burrows
Photos – Ian Dunn

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