Photo © Steve Asenjo for Wears The Trousers. See more photos from this gig.
April 2 We were seriously gutted when Nina Nastasia cancelled her November 2010 tour due to ill health, so it was with great anticipation that we hoofed it down to The Macbeth last week to see her with the promise of hearing some new material alongside songs from her six-album back catalogue. There were no new songs in the end, though Nina admitted she has plenty written. Instead she runs through a largely improvised setlist that leans most heavily on her debut album Dogs. These songs are now of at least twelve years’ vintage but Nina has a miraculous talent for performing each one as if the emotions they embody were fresh, her wonderfully captivating voice combining with her sometimes stark, often hypnotic guitar lines to give even this most lacking of venues a crackle of atmosphere.
Nina is famous – and loved, it must be said – for her hilarious, whiskey-fuelled stage banter, and tonight’s endearing tangents include meditations on ridiculous laws (she’s greatly amused to hear that, in the UK, a pregnant woman is legally allowed to pee in a policeman’s hat – though later research indicates that this is a rather liberal interpretation) and smartphone guitar-tuning apps. “I’m getting sloppy,” she laughs as she nears the end of the bottle, often restarting songs after a few bars having lost her way, but only one commenter is put out enough to complain. “You can do better,” he shouts, to which Nina drawls “Gee, thanks” with an eyeroll. She can do better, but that’s not always the point. Gifted and erratic, she’s a law unto herself – we wouldn’t have her any other way.
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