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Nick Garvie - Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 3/11/2009

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 1 / 12 / 2009

Nick Garvie - Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 3/11/2009


At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, Anthony Strutt watches little heard and udner-rated 60's singer-songwriter Nick Garrie, in support to Camera Obscura, at his first ever London show play a graceful and impressive set

Tonight's show at the tender age of 60 years young is surprisingly Nick Garrie's first ever gig in London. He is playing support to Camera Obscura, who like Nick have also released records on the Spanish label, Elefant. I first became appear of Nick when I brought a promo CD of a 7" Elefant release, 'Twilight'. It was a pleasant surprise, therefore, when after having reviewed it, Nick got in touch to invite me to his first ever London show. His performance lasted just over 30 minutes and standing next to me during it were his son and daughter who live near Slough on a farmhouse and had never seen their Dad play live before. Nick has released just five albums in his 40 year old musical career of which the first, 'The Nightmare of J.B.Stanislas', is the most famous. It remained in the warehouse of its label, Disc AZ, after it was recorded in 1969, as a result of the suicide the label boss. Original copies now go for about £800 a copy and it only finally saw a proper release in 2005. In 1984 Nick released his second album, 'Suitcase Man', from which he had a number 1 single in Spain and where he was asked to support Leonard Cohen on a tour there. His third album, 'The Playing Fields', which was written with Francis Lai, came out in 1993, while his fourth album, 2002's 'Twelve Old Songs', reprised some of his old songs and was influenced by Cohen's then album, 'Ten New Songs'. Nick was born to a Russian father and a Scottish mother, raised in Paris and for years he ran a ski club in the Swiss alps while singing at night. He now works as a French teacher in a school in London and it is here that he also found his piano player for tonight's show. In February, he released on Elefant a new album,'49 Arlington Gardens', from which some of tonight's set comes. The opening three numbers, however, are from the lost first album. The first track isn't announced, and he thens follows this with 'Can I Stay With You?' and 'Wheel of Fortune'. Nick kindly thanks Camera Obscura who are fans for letting him open for them. 'Can I Stay With You?' has a great line of "I feel like I'm getting older/Younger every day" which is pure poetry, while 'Wheel of Fortune' has a circus like feel. 'Twilight' follows and is a song full of summer sunshine. He then plays 'On a Wing and a Prayer' which is reminiscent and as powerful as a Nick Drake number and has a light jazzy piano break. I don't catch the title of the next song, but it is sang solo and in French, Nick has done several numbers in French now. 'In Every Nook and Cranny' was the B side to 'Twilight', and originally appeared on 'Suitcase Man' album. It is another fine song. I don't catch the titles of the two last numbers, but both are delivered with great gracefulness. This whole set has to me been a joy. Nick Garrie draws comparisons to me with songwriters such as Nick Drake and Bob Dylan.

Picture Gallery:-
Nick Garvie - Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 3/11/2009

Nick Garvie - Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 3/11/2009

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