Live Review: Nerina Pallot at Borderline

By Londonist Last edited 83 months ago
Live Review: Nerina Pallot at Borderline

Nerina Pallot chose to launch her new album, Year of the Wolf, at Borderline, an intimate venue she first played at the start of her career, over ten years ago.

The choice of Borderline, however, ended up being more than just a nostalgic nod to her musical roots. It proved a perfect setting for the chum-like interaction Pallot famously has with her audience and, sound-wise, for some of the more stripped-down, minimally accompanied tracks she played solo (such as "I Think, "It Starts", "Human" and set-closer, "Sophia"), which showcased her remarkable voice.

The flawless vocal performance is not Pallot's only strength, it must be noted. Another is her undeniable talent for writing a good melody. And there appear to be plenty of strong melodies on the new album, several compositions from which Pallot played last night.

Lyrically, Pallot often gets political (particularly on her biggest hit, "Everybody's Gone To War" and 2009's beautiful Kate Bush-reminiscent ballad, "English") but for this special album-launch evening, politics were left behind and, instead, we got a selection of more personal songs, including "Grace" (which the songsmithstress wrote the night before she gave birth to her son, Wolfie, last year) and "If I Lost You Now" (apparently written the day after Wolfie was born). On the latter she ends by exclaiming, "If I lost you now, would I cry? Oh, my God, would I!". That was a hear-a-pin-drop moment, right there.

One of the surprises of the night was a guest-appearance from legendary Suede-forefather, Bernard Butler, who produced "Year of the Wolf". Joining Pallot and her two bandmates on guitar, the foursome gave a cracking rendition of "Turn Me On Again" (one of the songs Pallot describes as having written "about shagging") and − by far, the best moment of the evening − new single "Put Your Hands Up".

With its soaring, catchy chorus, "Put Your Hands Up" was originally written for, but ultimately left off, Kylie Minogue's "Aphrodite" album, the title track of which, as well as Kylie's previous single, "Better Than Today", were penned by Pallot with husband, Andy Chatterley. Last night we were also treated to Nerina's own version of "Better Than Today", which drew a huge applause from the audience.

There is no reason why Nerina Pallot should not be selling records by the bucketload − her songs are beautiful and well-crafted, her live performance is engaging and entertaining and she certainly has the looks. Yet, she's still somewhat of a well-kept secret as far as the general public are concerned. Hopefully, "Year of the Wolf", which comes out next week, will help bring her music to the masses. Both Nerina and the album deserve it, as she ably demonstrated last night.

Year of the Wolf is out on 13 June. Order here.

By Doron Davidson-Vidavski

Last Updated 07 June 2011