A lovely hush falls over the crowd at the O2 Institute. As the cold air blows in from the frigid October night heartbeats sink, all syncopated in one loud whoosh we breathe in and we breathe out. The lights are dark, not exactly fully black but dark enough to lose your bearings. We breathe, in and out, waiting. Then he approaches the stage, dressed in all black he carries the countenance of a stage actor, full of strength and assurance. A guitar gets picked up, a slight feedback ringing in the speakers. He hits the first chord, and from there the crowd is washed over in transcendent tunes. Tune after tune, Nick Mulvey lulls the famished crowd into a blissful state of nirvana.
Nick Mulvey is a London on based singer songwriter who combines earthy sensibility with embellished flairs, a talent he picked up from studying music in Cuba. Unlike others in his genre, Mulvey’s tunes drip with individualistic song patterns, creating truly unique and personal songs. Playing at the O2 Institute, Mulvey opened with crowd pleaser “Remembering.” The light island undertone of the song is juxtaposed by darker chords giving the song a trance like allure. As the stage lights expand into a lovely yellow hue it feels like Mulvey is beckoning us into a different world, a request we eagerly reply yes to. “Unconditional” continues the breezy style, its repetitious lyrics and percussion giving the song a rhythmic vibe. Both tunes are lively, not the usual downtrodden sound you find in this genre, and like palm trees on a warm sunny island we sway with the vibes.
“Meet Me There” with its steady build and echoing vocals bring a climatic cacophony of sound to the stage. The emotional pulls of shifting sound continues as Mulvey plays a handful of tunes including “Apart” and “Imogen.” As girls giggle at the bar the five voices on stage combine, a beautiful array of harmonious singing that is hypnotically intoxicating. With “In Your Hands” Nick trades vocal parts with his female counterparts, giving the song a nice little back and forth. The soaring vocals and instrumental breaks at the bridge offer a lovely sonic exploration.
The band departs and Mulvey launches into a few acoustic tunes including fan favourite “The Trellis” and “Where the Body is Gone.” The night takes a serious turn as Mulvey details how he and his band mates wrote a song to address staggering images seen during the refuge crises. “Myela” is a thought provoking reflection about humanity that came from the disturbing images Mulvey encountered. The song is dark and elusive, no doubt reflecting the seriousness of the subject. “Fever to Form” breaks the tension, breathing life back into the crowd with its warm revival alternative rock feel. The vulnerable lyrics seem to draw the crowd in ever closer, breathing in every word that Nick lets out. After a short stage disappearance Nick returns to play the encore, which included “Transform Your Game” and “”Mountain to Move.”
There is an indisputable link between Nick Mulvey and his fans. Like a prophet Mulvey creates songs that are so deeply entrenched in the human condition that his music serves as a guiding light in life. Speaking words of truth in vulnerable poetic streams Mulvey absolutely wowed the O2 Institute crowd, leaving them feeling blissed out, high from the deliverance of the set. Nick Mulvey is a force not to be diluted.
Reviewer: Kylie McCormick
Photographer: Marc Osborne